Last night being the first game of the Western Conference final, there was some concern on my part over how good the game would be, given the style of hockey both teams play. I am in no way beneath stating that I was wrong, no exception here. The game was incredible from start to finish with lots of physical play, plenty of scoring chances, and some all around great hockey. I hope the next three or four games match up to what game one provided.
On to the analysis part, if the Phoenix Coyotes hope to be in the news for more than off ice issues after next week, they will have to find a way to solve this Kings offense. It is going to take a whole lot more than a lucky bounce from center ice to win this series, and quite franky, even if they adjust it does not look like they have enough to match the Kings forecheck. Daryll Sutter deserves marks for his ability to transform a group that was historically better on the defensive side of the puck, and making them the best forechecking team of the four that remain. Quite honestly, if not for Mike Smith, the Coyotes may have lost by six or seven goals.
Dustin Brown was a one man wrecking crew, Willie Mitchell was playing as he did years ago with the Canucks. Almost every aspect of the LA game was better than that of Phoenix. Tonight the Rangers and Devils start their throwback subway series which will hopefully live up to the level of play that was set last night. The one statistic which is really meaningless but may give the New York Rangers fans some reason to breathe easy, and original six team has won three of the last four Stanley Cup Championships.