There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics— Mark Twain
Despite their beloved team being up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals, long-time Kings fans cannot relax.
It’s not how they roll. Their hockey DNA is encoded with decades of mediocrity, wrapped in disappointment inside a non-playoff riddle. As such, they have a collective, palpable sense of the surreal, witnessing a team many pundits labeled amongst the most disappointing in the NHL as recently as February rampaging through these playoffs. The world would make more sense if they woke up tomorrow and read about the Vancouver Canucks’ overtime win over the New Jersey Devils. That would mean the Kings, as usual, were on the golf course practicing their swings.
However, it is real, and the numbers are there to prove it. A few of the key records the team has achieved or is flirting with setting are as follows:
Most road wins in a single playoff season
With their 2-1 overtime victory over New Jersey in game 2, the Kings earned their 10th road win of the 2011-12 playoffs, tying the 1994-95 and 1999-2000 Devils as well as the 2003-04 Flames for most road victories in a single playoff season. Ironically, not only did they just beat the franchise that shares the record to do so, but Los Angeles head coach Darryl Sutter was behind the bench for Calgary’s 2004 playoff run. If New Jersey can extend the series in Los Angeles, the Kings would have the opportunity to break the record next Saturday. Needless to say, they’d just as soon not have to surpass that one.
Consecutive road wins in the playoffs
The Kings have tied the overall road wins mark and shattered the consecutive road wins records for both a single season as well as multiple seasons (12). The streak dates back to the opening round of the 2010-11 playoffs versus San Jose, where they won their last two games at the HP Pavilion before being summarily closed out in Los Angeles.
Fewest number of losses under the current playoff format
In 1987-88, the juggernaut Edmonton Oilers lost just three games on their way to the Cup. Heading home to Los Angeles up 2-0, the Kings have lost a mere two games so far this year.
First playoff team to defeat a #1 seed (Vancouver), #2 seed (St. Louis) and #3 seed (Phoenix) in one playoff season
The Kings beat Vancouver 4-1, swept the Blues 4-0 and defeated the Coyotes 4-1.
Lowest-seeded playoff team to win the Cup
Regardless of the ultimate outcome, either the Kings (eighth in the West) or Devils (7th in the East) will hold this distinction after it’s all said and done.
Although the following are not records, they are noteworthy nonetheless:
Kings’ record since the Jeff Carter trade
The Kings are now a gaudy 27-7-3 since the trade that sent Carter to Los Angeles.
Five shorthanded goals:
The Edmonton Oilers hold the record for most shorties in a playoff season with 10, set in 1983. It appears that record is safe. However, the Kings’ total of five is two more than the number of power play goals they have allowed this postseason.
The Kings have surrendered an average of just 1.5 goals per game over sixteen games so far during the playoffs, a full half-goal lower than the next-best teams (Ottawa, 2.00 in seven games and the New York Rangers, 2.05 in 20).
The top line of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams has combined for 16 goals and 44 points this postseason
Both Kopitar and Brown have seven goals and nine assists apiece; Justin Williams has potted two goals and recorded ten assists. Kopitar and Brown are each a stellar +14, tied for highest in the playoffs.
Jonathan Quick has the lowest G.A.A. and highest save percentage of any goalie with more than three starts in these playoffs
With just one goal allowed in game two, Quick’s G.A.A. has shrunk to a ridiculous 1.44, and his save percentage now stands at an amazing .947%. Only Corey Schneider in his short three games technically surpasses Quick’s statistics.
There may be other records broken or flirted with on both sides before these Finals are completed. It’s even possible there will be an epic comeback by New Jersey on the road over the next two games, which would turn the Finals on their ear once more. For a franchise that has never won anything of significance before and no matter how pretty the statistics may look at the moment, the Kings will take two more ugly wins, any day.
Walter McLaughlin is a Los Angeles Kings correspondent for The Hockey Writers. He is an avid sports fan, having followed the Kings since living in L.A. in the mid-1970’s, as well as suffering through Seattle sports teams’ general futility. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and has worked in community banking for over 25 years, specializing in SBA loans. He is married and has two daughters.