NHL Playoffs 2012: Preview and Predicting Western Conference Finals

Posted on May 9 2012 - 8:31pm by Mike Burse

Phoenix Coyotes (3) vs. Los Angeles Kings (8):

Regular season head to head:

Date Coyotes Kings
Oct 20/11 0 2
Oct 29/11 3 (OT) 2
Dec 26/11 3 4
Jan 5/12 0 1 (OT)
Feb 16/12 1 0
Feb 21/12 5 (SO) 4
Total 12 13

 

Advantage: Even

Offense:

Statistic Coyotes Kings
5-5 GF/GA Ratio 1.38 1.45
GF/G 2.64 3.00
SOG/G 26.8 28.6
Faceoff Win% 51.3% 48.0%

 

Advantage: Kings

Defense:

Statistic Coyotes Kings
GA/G 1.91 1.56
SA/G 36.4 30.4
Hits 387 324
Blocked shots 192 134
TA-GA ratio 1.14 0.58

 

Advantage: Coyotes

Goaltending:

Coyotes Playoffs

Player GP W L GAA SV%
Mike Smith 11 8 3 1.77 0.948

 

Kings Playoffs

Player GP W L GAA SV%
Jonathan Quick 9 8 1 1.55 0.949

 

Advantage: Even

Special Teams:

Playoffs

Team PP PK
Coyotes 16.1% (9th) 89.5% (4th)
Kings 8.5% (15th) 92.1% (2nd)

 

Penalties

Team Minors Majors Total PIM PIM/G
Coyotes 42 2 104 9.5
Kings 46 4 136 15.1

 

Advantage: Coyotes

Prediction:

Phoenix Coyotes win this series in six games. During the regular season series the Coyotes top performers against the Kings were Radim Vrbata with five goals and seven points in six games and Martin Hanzal with five assists in four games. The top two performers for the Kings were Dustin Brown with three goals and five points in six games as well as Anze Kopitar with one goal and four assists in six games. Also of note Drew Doughty had two goals and three points in six games against the Coyotes this year.

In this series face-offs will be a key deciding factor, the Coyotes have the edge in this regard. The Coyotes are also blocking more shots and laying down more hits than the Kings in this postseason. In the playoffs those are key indicators of desire and the Coyotes can match and surpass the Kings in those ways that the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues could not.

As well the Coyotes show better poise and control with the puck than the Kings do as evidenced by their much better takeaway to giveaway ratio. The Coyotes appear to be the more disciplined team and should get more opportunities on the power play because of it so the Kings Penalty kill will need to maintain its current level.

This series should be a gritty goaltending battle for the ages. It might be hard to catch the late games if you live in the East, but be sure you do. You will not want to miss all of this series, PVR is a wonderful thing!

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A Bleacher Report writer since September 2006, Mike Burse's work has been featured on NHL.com, Sportsnet.ca and TheSlapShot.com. He was also part of Bleacher Report's 2010 NHL Entry Draft coverage team. Follow Mike on Twitter @mikeburse