Home > Analysis/Opinion > 2012 Western & Eastern Conference Finals + Daily Score Updates

2012 Western & Eastern Conference Finals + Daily Score Updates

Western Conference Finals

(3) PHOENIX COYOTES

VS.

(8) LOS ANGELES KINGS

Los Angeles wins series 4-1

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SCHEDULE:

Game #

Road Team

Home Team

Date

Start Time (Eastern)

TV Channels

Final Score

1

Los Angeles

Phoenix

Sunday, May 13

8:00

NBCSN, TSN, RDS

LA wins 4-2 in regulation

2

Los Angeles

Phoenix

Tuesday, May 15

9:00

NBCSN, TSN, RDS

LA wins 4-0 in regulation

3

Phoenix

Los Angeles

Thursday, May 17

9:00

NBCSN, TSN, RDS

LA wins 2-1 in regulation

4

Phoenix

Los Angeles

Sunday, May 20

3:00

NBC, CBC, RDS

PHX wins 2-0 in regulation

5*

Los Angeles

Phoenix

Tuesday, May 22

9:00

NBCSN, CBC, RDS

LA wins 4-3 in 1st OT

6*

Phoenix

Los Angeles

Thursday, May 24

9:00

NBCSN, CBC, RDS

7*

Los Angeles

Phoenix

Saturday, May 26

8:00

CBC, RDS

*- If necessary

SEASON SERIES:

Los Angeles won season series 3-1-2

OFFENSIVE STAT LEADERS:

Stat

Phoenix

Los Angeles

Goals

5- Antoine Vermette

6- Dustin Brown

Assists

7- Keith Yandle

7- Anze Kopitar

Points

9- Antoine Vermette

11- Dustin Brown

Plus-Minus

+6- Keith Yandle

+9- Dustin Brown

GOALTENDING MATCHUP:

Player

Record (Wins-Losses-Overtime Losses)

Goals Against Average

Save Percentage

Shutouts

Mike Smith (Phoenix)

8-3-2

 1.77

 .948

2

Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles)

 8-1-0

1.55

 .949

1

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Phoenix (4-2 over Chicago in round 1, 4-1 over Nashville in round 2)

Round 1: Refer to post here.

Round 2: Game 1 started out with more goals than people expected, as the two teams went back and forth.  Martin Erat’s late goal was enough to send the game to OT, where veteran Ray Whitney notched the game-winner to give the Coyotes first blood in the series.  It was yet another high-scoring affair the next game, as the Coyotes used a three-goal 2nd period en route to a 5-3 win.  The Preds knew they had to win game 3, or they would face a potential sweep.  And that’s just what they did, as Pekka Rinne bounced back with a 32 save shutout.  Mike Smith responded with his own shutout in game 4, however, as Shane Doan’s first period tally stood up as the game-winner.  They would then seal the deal at home in game 5, as Mike Smith stood on his ahead once again, allowing only one goal on 33 shots as the Coyotes advanced to the third round for the first time in franchise history.

Antoine Vermette has been the surprise offense that the Coyotes have needed so far these playoffs.
PHOTO CREDITS: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Los Angeles (4-1 over Vancouver in round 1, 4-0 over St. Louis in round 2)

Round 1: Refer to post here.

Round 2: The Kings got the better of the Blues in the regular season, and they did it again when the two team squared off in the second round.  Jonathan Quick continued to stand on his head, although he got plenty of help this time from his D.  Speaking of LA’s defense, they played a vital role in their sweep over the Blues, with Matt Greene and Drew Doughty each recording four points in the series.  This led to an offensive explosion, something the Kings lacked in the regular season.  It’s especially not easy when you consider that they had to get pucks by Brian Elliott, but they found a way – many ways, in fact.  Finally, another part of their success was their outstanding PK, which held the Blues scoreless on 17 opportunities.

Mike Richards had his way against the Blues in round 2, picking up 5 points in 4 games.
PHOTO CREDITS: Harry How/Getty Images

ANALYSIS:

Los Angeles in 6.  What a story these two teams have been.  Unfortunately, one of these Cinderella runs will come to an end, and I believe that LA will be the team that comes out on top.  While Phoenix has been just as impressive, you cannot overlook how LA has simply manhandled the top two seeds in the West.  They’re showing the league why they were the best team after the All-Star break, with a combination of some superb goaltending from Jonathan Quick and the offense heating up at just the right time.  Every line has come up big for the Kings these playoffs, and Phoenix is going to have a hard time containing them – especially if they continue to allow Mike Smith to face the amount of rubber he has in the first two rounds combined (over 36+ shots per game).  Another factor that will determine the series is special teams.  Both teams have been excellent on the PK, but Phoenix holds a considerable edge when it comes to the powerplay.  If they are able to capitalize on their opportunities, then they just might have a chance.

Jonathan Quick will continue his impressive playoff run, making a serious case for the Conn Smythe.
PHOTO CREDITS: Harry How/Getty Images

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Eastern Conference Finals

(1) NEW YORK RANGERS

VS.

(6) NEW JERSEY DEVILS

Series tied 2-2

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SCHEDULE:

Game #

Road Team

Home Team

Date

Start Time (Eastern)

TV Channels

Final Score

1

New Jersey

New York

 Monday, May 14

8:00

NBCSN, CBC, RDS

NYR wins 3-0 in regulation

2

New Jersey

New York

Wednesday, May 16

8:00

NBCSN, CBC, RDS

NJ wins 3-2 in regulation

3

New York

New Jersey

Saturday, May 19

1:00

NBC, CBC, RDS

NYR wins 3-0 in regulation

4

New York

New Jersey

Monday, May 21

8:00

NBCSN, CBC, RDS

NJ wins 4-1 in regulation

5*

New Jersey

New York

Wednesday, May 23

8:00

NBCSN, CBC, RDS

6*

New York

New Jersey

Friday, May 25

8:00

NBCSN, CBC, RDS

7*

New Jersey

New York

Sunday, May 27

8:00

NBCSN, CBC, RDS

*- If necessary

SEASON SERIES:

New York won season series 3-2-1

OFFENSIVE STAT LEADERS:

Stat

New York

New Jersey

Goals

6- Brad Richards

5- Travis Zajac, Ilya Kovalchuk

Assists

7- Derek Stepan

7- Ilya Kovalchuk

Points

11- Brad Richards

12- Ilya Kovalchuk

Plus-Minus

+3- Marc Staal

+8- Bryce Salvador

GOALTENDING MATCHUP:

Player

Record (Wins-Losses-Overtime Losses)

Goals Against Average

Save Percentage

Shutouts

Henrik Lundqvist (New York)

 8-4-2

 1.68

.937

 1

Martin Brodeur (New Jersey)

8-3-1

 2.05

 .920

1

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

New York (4-3 over Ottawa in round 1, 4-3 over Washington in round 2)

Round 1: Refer to post here.

Round 2: Once again, it took all seven games for the #1 seeded Rangers to eliminate one of the lower seeds in the East.  The two teams would alternate wins in the series, and this pattern would fortunately continue for the Rangers as they pulled out a 2-1 victory in game 7.  Like the Sens, the Caps gave the Rangers all they could handle, including a triple OT game that Marian Gaborik ended – the 21st longest game in NHL history.  Rookie Braden Holtby was outstanding for Washington, but his goaltending was matched by one of the best in Henrik Lundqvist.  Steady offensive contribution aided the Rangers’ success as well, as they exacted revenge for their loss to the Caps in 2009 and 2011.

New Jersey (4-3 over Florida in round 1, 4-1 over Philadelphia in round 2)

Round 1: Refer to post here.

Round 2: Many didn’t give the Devils much of a chance against the Flyers.  After Danny Briere’s OT marker in game 1, something changed.  They made a big statement in game 2, earning a split and riding on momentum as the series shifted back to Newark.  They would head to OT again in game 3, with Alexei Ponikarovsky doing the heroics for the Devils.  Ilya Bryzgalov continued to have a hard time in game 4, surrendering another 4 goals as the Devils erased a 2-0 deficit to put the Flyers on the brink of elimination.  The Flyers opened the score in game 5 quickly,but not before the Devils responded twice, before Ilya Kovalchuk added an insurance marker early in the third to send the Devils to the conference finals for the first time since 2003.

Ilya Kovalchuk broke through in round two with two goals and five assists against the Flyers.
PHOTO CREDITS: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

ANALYSIS:

New York in 6.  Once again, the Devils are the underdogs as they face off against another divisional rival.  This time, however, it’s a bit different.  No disrespect to Ilya Bryzgalov, but Henrik Lundqvist is most likely not going to be lit up like he was against the Devils (and Penguins).  The Rangers have some quality defensemen that will sacrifice every part of their body to block a shot, and their offense isn’t too shabby either.  Just like the Western series, however, I think that it all boils down to special teams once again.  The Devils absolutely must stay out of the box, for their PK% is only operating at 73.9%, the lowest of the four teams remaining.  Faceoffs will also be important, a stat that both teams have been struggling with through the first two rounds.  Sure, the Devils may have Parise, Zajac, Elias, and Kovalchuk, but I simply like the depth of the Rangers’ offense more (not to mention their D).  After a slow start, Marian Gaborik started to heat up in round two.  Brad Richards continues to pace the offense, while the D chips in from time to time with the likes of Dan Girardi, Anton Stralman, and Michael Del Zotto.  The Devils’ D will need to find a way to do something similar, or their Stanley Cup dreams will be shattered.

Henrik Lundqvist will do battle against one of the best goaltenders in NHL history: Martin Brodeur.
PHOTO CREDITS: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

 
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