NHL Power Rankings (Conference Finals): Kings, Coyotes, Devils, Rangers
NHL Power Rankings – Eastern and Western Conference Finals NHL Playoffs Edition: LA Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers
There’s only four teams left in hockey, but it’s still fun to do a special NHL Playoffs edition of our power rankings. The Phoenix Coyotes rode incredible goaltending through the first two rounds of the playoffs, while their opponent has an equally talented netminder. The LA Kings and Jonathan Quick have been sharp, but their offense has been even better. The New York Rangers have played fourteen games in the first two rounds, while the New Jersey Devils are fresh off a convincing win against the Flyers. This year’s conference finals feature only two divisions, but the rivalries and excitement are as exciting as it gets. Additionally, Martin Brodeur, Henrik Lundqvist, Mike Smith, and Jonathan Quick could be the four hottest goaltenders to collectively reach the conference finals in ages.
1. LA Kings – It’s hard to deny the mighty power of the LA Kings, even if I’ve inexplicably picked the Phoenix Coyotes to pull off the upset in the conference finals. Jonathan Quick is one of the best goalies in hockey, and certainly holds his own with the four remaining goalies in the playoffs. The Kings have taken out the top two seeds in the conference and continue to roll. The offense is clicking, led by Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Simply put, the Kings are on fire.
2. New Jersey Devils – The Devils are on fire as well, with all the momentum in the world. New Jersey dominated the Philadelphia Flyers with an impressive forecheck and incredible pressure, and even a consistent Ilya Bryzgalov was no match for the scorers of the Devils. Patrik Elias, Dainus Zubrus, and Adam Henrique give the Devils scoring depth while Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, and Travis Zajac give the Devils dynamic offensive weapons. The defense is average, but Martin Brodeur in what could be his last shot at a Stanley Cup run sounds pretty dangerous.
3. New York Rangers – After taking the bottom two seeds in the conference to seven games, the Rangers may have the least momentum of any team going into the conference finals. They’ll be tired, but they have Henrik Lundqvist, the great equalizer in any playoff series. Additionally, their big names are finally performing, led by Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik’s combined 21 points. On home ice, they’ll be in an incredible battle for a Stanley Cup spot.
4. Phoenix Coyotes – The Coyotes combine timely scoring, consistent defense, and incredibly hot goaltending to grind out their wins. It’s not pretty, but it’s fun to watch. Mike Smith will be the key to the Coyotes advancing any further, and as hot as he is, it’s more than reasonable for the Coyotes to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
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