(The Spread) - The Los Angeles Kings have made oddsmakers stand up and take notice of their impressive play in the 2012 NHL Playoffs.
The Kings entered the playoffs as the eighth seed in the Western Conference but they’re now favored to represent the West in the Stanley Cup at 1/1 odds. The Phoenix Coyotes are 11/4, the Nashville Predators are 9/2 and the Kings’ second-round opponent the St. Louis Blues are 6/1.
Thus far, the Kings have absolutely dominated their semifinals series with the Blues, who are now down 0-2 after back-to-back losses at home. Dustin Brown leads Los Angeles in both points (9) and goals (4) thus far in the playoffs, while Justin Williams has a team-high five assists.
The Blues, meanwhile, are in major trouble. They’re 1-16 in franchise history when facing a 2-0 series deficit, with the lone exception coming in the first round against Minnesota in 1972 when they rebounded to win in seven games. With star defensive man Alex Pietrangelo currently trying to recover from a concussion suffered in Game 1 (he did not play in Game 2), the Blues’ special teams and offense could continue to struggle.
Getting back to the Kings, with their defense, youth, physical play and excellent goaltending, they have a great chance to challenge for a Stanley Cup. But they can’t get lax - they need to finish off a Blues team that did win two games in San Jose in the first round.