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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Western Conference Final Prediction — Kings vs. Coyotes

The Kings and Coyotes played six times in the regular season and each team won three games—2-0 Kings, 3-2 Yotes, 4-3 Kings, 1-0 Kings, 1-0 Yotes and 5-4 SO Yotes.

Both teams are obviously playing exceptionally well to have made the Western Conference Final, and especially goaltenders Jonathan Quick and Mike Smith. The Kings are definitely favored to win this series and we can expect them to continue with the relentless forechecking that they used against the Canucks and Blues. Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal were the Coyotes two most effective players against the Kings during the regular season, and Vrbata had five big goals in the six meetings. However, in most playoff games this year, Vrbata has not been that effective (4 points in 11 games and minus-2) and I expect the Kings to be able to rough-up a smaller player like him and greatly reduce his offensive ability; and, the same goes for Whitney since he is only 180 pounds—although, the Coyotes have home ice advantage and they can help their cause with wise line changes for home games (and will have the first two games at home). Hanzal is 235 pounds so the Kings can’t push him around, and he will have to be at his best along with Doan, Yandle, Vermette, the young Boedker, and the rest of the team if they want to overcome the Kings and advance to play the Devils or Rangers for the Cup. In Dave Tippett, the Coyotes have one of the best, if not the best, coach in the league and that is another advantage. On the Kings side, Kopitar, Brown, Doughty, Richards and Williams have been playing exceptionally well.

I hope that the officiating is fair and not biased towards the Kings because I want the underdog Coyotes to win. If the Yotes are able to orchestrate the upset it would likely come down to the seventh game in Phoenix.

TJ Stanley