I just watched the highlights of the Kings’ last ten series-clinching wins. I skipped the Chicago series from 2013. That’s a 10-1 series record over the last three seasons. Ten series wins in 2012, 2013 and 2014. If you wanted to experience ten Kings series wins before 2012, you would have to go back and relive the quarter century from 1975-2001. Before 2012, the Kings’ series record was 11-22. Now it’s 21-23.
Here’s a question (or two) for you. The Kings just won two cups in three seasons. Who was the last team to do that? How many teams have done it since the first expansion in 1967?
- Kings 2012-14
- Wings 1997-98 (last team to win back to back)
- Penguins 1991-92 (back to back)
- Oilers 1984-1990 (won five cups in seven seasons)
- Islanders 1980-83 (four in a row)
- Canadiens 1976-79 (four in a row)
- Flyers 1974-75 (back to back)
- Canadiens 1968-73 (four cups in six seasons)
- pre-1967 it happened all the time, since there were only six teams. (Usually it was the Canadiens, Leafs or Wings, once it was the Bruins, the Rangers and Hawks never did it.)
One thing leaps out at me from that list. You’ve got the Russian-Five era Red Wings, the Lemieux/Jagr era Penguins, the Gretzky/Messier era Oilers, the Bossy era Islanders, the Clarke/ Parent era Flyers, and the monolithic 70s Canadiens. Those are arguably the greatest teams in hockey history; certainly the greatest post-Original Six.
The Canadiens, Islanders and Oilers are in a different class, and the Kings are not likely to rise to that level (winning four in a row or five out of seven). I’m not even sure that’s possible anymore for any team, given “parity.”
Right now, the Kings are on the cusp of being in the company of those Red Wings, Penguins and Flyers teams. Even that is debatable, but for someone who has endured interminable seasons of hockey hideousness, just the fact that the 2012-14 Kings can be part of that conversation is mind-blowing.