Thursday, May 31, 2012
Thursday Morning Cupcheck - Devils and Kings: Behind the Hatred
This week, we break down the stats behind the fist breaking down your face.
Good morning, hockey fans! Last week we revealed that Kings "captain" Dustin Brown might not be the actual Anti-Christ. This week, it's time to stop moping around the house explaining to random inanimate pieces of furniture how the Dallas Stars would cruise through this year's weak Western Conference like a knife through hot orca, and finally admit that there is a Stanley Cup Final being played by two teams that nobody wants to watch.
Unlike last year's Cup Finals, which featured two evil supervillain teams in an epic battle for world dominance, this year's matchup is more like a fight between two middle-aged shirtless Juggalos in the Denny's parking lot after their rival Korn tribute bands were double-booked on Dollar Draft Nite. In a word: swanlike.
Game 1 didn't disappoint, either, unless your definition of disappointment matches the one in the dictionary. The losing team had 17 shots -- in a game that went to overtime -- and both teams were tied at 5 shots apiece through the first 20 minutes, with 96% of the action best described as a cross between "neutral zone turnover" and "puck moving slowly along the boards." The game was mercifully put to rest halfway through the first overtime when two Devils defensemen figured Justin Williams along the wall was way more dangerous than a completely uncovered Anze Kopitar streaking up the middle.
Not shockingly, that play wouldn't even crack the top 10 worst plays by Kings opponents this postseason.
But there's more to this series than missing open nets, cheap shots, and dives. There's also Fun Facts! Here are some of the important numbers that will shape your world over these next three games.
9 - The number of consecutive road wins by the LA Kings, an NHL postseason record that will stand for all eternity.
9 - The number of consecutive hotels Dustin Brown has been kicked out of for wetting the bed, the fourth-longest streak of his career.
8.0% - The Kings' powerplay percentage in the postseason, their one glaring flaw in an otherwise flawless playoffs.
8.0% - Drew Doughty's strikeout percentage at Saddle Ranch, his one glaring flaw as an otherwise flawless human specimen.
2003 - The last year the Devils had a successful postseason run, in which they met an overachieving Pacific Division team that relied heavily on otherwordly netminding, illegal holding away from the puck and timely overtime goals, which they capped off with one of the most unwatchable 7-game series in NHL history.
2003 - The year the Kings watched silently from a darkened corner ... waiting.
18 - The proposed drinking age in Atlanta, following the Devils' elimination of the New York Rangers.
.946 - Jonathan Quick's postseason save percentage, currently even higher than Tim Thomas' epic .940 in Boston's Cup run last season.
.946 - Blood-alcohol level of former Stars GM Doug Armstrong, who passed over Quick with the 71st pick in the 2005 draft to select Richard Clune, who played 14 games in the NHL, all with the Kings.
Just One - The number of playoff series LA won in the last 18 years before this season.
Just One - Number of times Barry Melrose is going to ask you if you're going to eat that.
66% - Road teams' winning percentage this postseason, essentially negating home-ice advantage for regular-season darlings.
66% - Vancouver and the Rangers' winning percentages against the Minnesota Wild and NY Islanders, respectively, essentially ensuring home-ice advantage for regular-season darlings.
Four - Number of games the Kings would have to win the Finals in to tie the 87-88 Edmonton Oilers for fewest games played in a Stanley Cup-winning season (18).
Four - Number of additional Stanley Cups after this one LA would have to win in a six-year span to ever be mentioned in the same breath as that Oilers team ever again.
That's it for this week's Peabody-winning investigative journalism. Tune in next week when we break down the exact height and dimensions of the Kings' bandwagon.