NHL Playoffs 2012: Why LA Kings’ Upset of St. Louis Is the Least Shocking so Far

Albeit not quite as quickly or at the hands of the most likely suspect, the 2011-12 St. Louis Blues got the exact sort of postseason fate that should have been expected of them.

The eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings polished off a four-game second-round sweep of the second-seeded Blues with a 3-1 victory Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center. With that, Darryl Sutter’s pupils are the first No. 8 team under the current playoff format to have dislodged each of the top two squads in their conference.

This and the preceding five-game annihilation of the Vancouver Canucks were only a few ice chips shy of impossible to envision, unless one was wearing black-and-silver lenses courtesy of the Kings front office.

Granted, Los Angeles is exponentially amplifying its argument that where it finished in the regular season is not indicative of its competitive aptitude.

The 2011-12 Kings' story is not unlike that of the Washington Capitals, the seventh-place team in the Eastern Conference. Like LA, the Caps made a midseason coaching change after repeat early exits from the playoffs and now have a chance to abolish the top two seeds in their own circuit.

Still, much more ought to have been expected of the Canucks and the Boston Bruins, the Kings’ and the Capitals’ respective first-round victims. Outside of the elimination of the Blues, those two series are the only other ones that can be definitively classified as upsets in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Although Los Angeles patently improved with the insertion of Sutter prior to Christmas and emerged with a playoff passport after a chaotic, four-way scramble among Pacific Division teams, Vancouver should have won that quarterfinal card.

One would think that, after winning a second straight President’s Trophy and sandwiching those regular season laurels with a seven-game setback in the 2011 Cup final, the Canucks would have lea...

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