May 6, 2012, 7:47 PM EDT
The Los Angeles Kings defeated the first seed Vancouver Canucks in five games and then went on to sweep the second seed St. Louis Blues in the second round. Even in an era of increased parity, what the Kings have accomplished is nothing short of shocking.
They aren’t the first eighth-seed squad to advance all the way to the semifinals since the birth of the salary cap. The Montreal Canadiens made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010, but they didn’t make it look nearly as easy as Los Angeles has.
Montreal, propelled largely by goaltender Jaroslav Halak, needed seven games to defeat the Washington Capitals in the first round. The Canadiens won another Game 7 against the Pittsburgh Penguins before ultimately losing to Philadelphia in the semifinals.
The only other eighth-seed to get this far was the 2005-06 Edmonton Oilers. They beat the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Shakrs in the first two rounds. However, Edmonton won in Game 6 in each of those series. The Oilers eventually lost in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Carolina Hurricanes.
One other thing to keep in mind is that, since the current playoff format started in 1994, no eighth-seed has eliminated the top two teams in their conference.
In short, the Kings’ playoff run has already made history.
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- Much to his relief, Lecavalier will start season at center 13
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