Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 5/4/12
The impact unsung performers can have on a playoff series is a key tenet of Sutter's Law. With a 7-1 playoff record against Vancouver and St. Louis, is it even fair to continue to refer to the contributions from players like Matt Greene, Trevor Lewis and Dwight King as "unsung"? There's nothing really unsung about it at this point. Every last skater in the lineup has provided a significant contribution to this Kings playoff push that continues to add chapters to the team's history books. What once was a pamphlet depicting years of postseason malaise is now an encyclopedic categorization of contributions from players one through 20 on Darryl Sutter's lineup card. Among the "sung" performances buoying this red hot Los Angeles team are Dwight King's improving minutes in the 2012 postseason. His momentum shifting goal in Game 3 off a pinpoint banked pass by Matt Greene highlighted the speed in transition the Kings have used to their advantage against the Blues. "Obviously you'd like to chip in any way you can in these series, and I found my way to get my first goal, which was key, and we got a win," King said. And how about Greene? While his shorthanded goal and two assists look pretty on the statsheet "Yeah, that's an accident," he said about his point production Friday morning (link: http:video.kings.nhl.comvideocenterconsole?catid=729&id=176342=en&cmpid=LAKKVpracticeRM) the meat of his game is weighted heavily in the defensive end, where he leads Los Angeles defensemen with 29 hits, almost twice as many hits as the next blueliner. He's doing this despite ranking fifth amongst defensemen in ice time. Willie Mitchell, who led all skaters with 28:44 of ice time Thursday night, continues the "sung" performances that are easily found up and down the Kings lineup: Trevor Lewis' wraparound goal against Vancouver and game-high six hits against St. Louis on Thursday, Brad Richardson's goal in round one shortly after returning from an appendectomy, Dustin Penner's ascension and production on the second line and plus-six rating in eight games, Jordan Nolan's balance, size and speed that allows him to throw his weight around on Sutter's forecheck, Jeff Carter's skate deflection to set Penner up against Vancouver and his deflating first period goal that sunk St. Louis last weekend, Rob Scuderi's 17 blocked shots and veteran playoff character, and Dustin Brown doing every single possible thing correctly on the ice. From first line wingers to energy providers who average under 10 minutes per game to the hustle and commitment from the four centers with exceptionally high Hockey I.Q.s, this Kings performance has been built through the commitment of every last skater. Jarret Stoll, a player practically omitted from playoff previews a month ago, well embodies the one-through-20 commitment on this Kings roster. Representing the team's depth down the middle of the ice, his 25 postseason hits are second amongst L.A. forwards, while his second goal of the first round of the playoffs was the elimination tally that stunned the Rogers Arena crowd in overtime. To speak at such length without even acknowledging what goaltender Jonathan Quick has meant to Los Angeles' playoff efforts indicates the level of legitimacy of Staples Center's Stanley Cup hopes. By the way, Quick's .948 postseason save percentage leads all qualifying goaltenders. Despite the all-of-a-sudden raised projections and the frenzy that their fans have been whipped into, don't expect anything more than the "humble confidence" referenced by Jonathan Quick on the Dan Patrick Show Wednesday morning. "Over the time of the year, we didn't have too much time to get too high," Greene said about the team's approach. "We tried to keep it at an even keel, and that's what we're trying to do right now, too." That even keel approach will result in only the team's second conference finals berth if applied effectively through Game 4 Sunday afternoon.
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