LOS ANGELES The impact that physical play can have on a playoff series depends heavily on the manner in which it is applied.
Mike Richards' hit on Alex Burrows in Game 1 of the Vancouver series was so much more than a clean, open ice hit that rounded out the final 30 seconds of a playoff game that had already been decided.
It was a clear and concise notice to the Canucks that they were going to have to fight tooth and nail for every inch of ice until it was time to shake hands at the series' conclusion. Dustin Brown's leveling of Henrik Sedin in Game 3 was not only a reminder, but an accurate model of the success the Kings had against Vancouver in establishing their own will and identity on the series.
While the physicality also weighed heavily into Monday night's 5-2 win in St. Louis, it shouldn't be confused with the emotional post-whistle scrums and jawing that have come to define the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
A recent study of disciplinary statistics over the last four pos...