The Kings lost their first-round series against Vegas because they went from being the net-driving team they’d been for most of the regular season to playing Darryl Sutter-brand hockey once again, and didn’t score any goals as a result. cheap youth nfl jerseys They ran into a hot goalie, sure, but also they didn’t do much to make that goalie earn his .970-something save percentage in the four-game sweep.
The Ducks had a similar problem: They couldn’t score, but unlike the Kings they also couldn’t keep the puck out of the net. The Sharks aren’t even that great, but they certainly made the Ducks look like a team that had no business being in the playoffs, outscoring them 16-4 in four games.
The Wild weren’t really in that boat, so much, because they just got run out of the building in four out of their five games by a deeply superior team, and only a surprise blowout in Game 3 kept them from being as utterly humiliated as the two above teams. Nonetheless, they lost their last two games by a combined 7-0 scoreline, including a first period in Game 5 that was so laughable it made the last 50 minutes or so not even worth watching.
All of which highlights both an overarching problem with these three teams separately and with the current playoff format. None of these three teams are equipped to be competitive within the Western Conference, but mostly because they are not equipped to be competitive within their respective divisions.
The Kings and Ducks play in a fairly soft division, probably the softest in the league given its overall lack of elite clubs, and they didn’t come close to being able to keep up even in the first round. Meanwhile, the Wild are a nominally good team — reliably worth 100 points in the standings — but not much more than that because they lack any truly high-end talent.
LA and Anaheim each have a difference-making defenseman and center, but beyond that, what are we really talking about with this club’s talent level on an ongoing basis? After your Doughtys and Lindholms, Getzlafs and Kopitars, who’s carrying the water for these teams? Rickard Rakell? Jeff Carter (if he’s healthy)? Perfectly good players, but not guys who really move the needle, and certainly not guys who do it against actual good competition.
And Minnesota, frankly, doesn’t even have guys on the level of those elite defensemen or centers.nfl youth jerseys cheap If you can get Eric Staal to shoot 17 percent again, that’s fine. Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund can play, too, but they’re on the level of Rakell and Carter in that they’re very nice players to have but if they’re your big weapons you’re not really going to make a lot happen in the playoffs.