The NHL has quite a surprise on their hands with the Western Conference Finals as it features 2 teams nobody really expected to be here several months ago. Your two teams are the 8th seeded Los Angeles Kings and the 3 seeded Phoenix Coyotes.
Entering the post season the Kings finished only 2 points behind the Coyotes but thanks to league rules that state a division winner gets a top 3 seed, the Coyotes leapfrogged over several teams with more total points and were able to earn home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
The Kings lost their final 2 games of the regular season to the San Jose Sharks knocking them down into the 8th seed and giving them the task of having to knock off the top seeded Vancouver Canucks to advance to the second round.
The Kings started the playoffs red hot as they took the first 3 games of the series from the Canucks to take a 3-0 series lead. In game 4 however, the Kings stumbled as they lost to the Canucks to make the series 3-1. In game 4 the Kings were able to rebound thanks to a Jarret Stoll overtime goal which gave the Kings the series victory over the Canucks and propelled them to the second round to take on the second seeded St. Louis Blues.
Just like in the first round, the Kings had to open the series on the road and once again won both games on the opponents ice sending them back to L.A. with a 2 games to none lead. In game 3 the Kings were able to excite the home crowd as they won again, this time by a score of 4-2 to take a 3-0 series lead for the second straight round. Unlike in round 1 where the Kings were unable to close out the series on home ice, the Kings were able to defeat the Blues 2-1 in game 4 to send the Staples Center crowd into euphoria and advancing the Kings into the third round of the playoffs and a date with the Phoenix Coyotes.
During the regular season these 2 teams split the series at 3 games a-piece with the most recent game being a 5-4 shootout victory for the Coyotes back on February 21st.
Both of the goaltenders in this upcoming series have been red hot during the postseason as Jonathan Quick leads all active goalies in playoff GAA right now with a 1.55 GAA and .949 save percentage while Mike Smith has been almost as good sporting a 1.85 GAA with a save percentage of .946.
While it is expected that this series will be low scoring, it needs to be pointed out that the Kings are averaging 3 goals per game in the playoffs while the Coyotes are averaging 2.64 goals per game, so a high scoring game is not entirely out of the question. With the stellar goaltending however it would not be surprising at all to see one game end 1-0 and the following game be a 5-4 finale.
As of now it is unknown when the series will start, but you can bet that it will be an exciting matchup and ultimately will send a team from the Pacific Division to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 2007 when the Anaheim Ducks represented the Pacific Division en route to their Stanley Cup victory