Stanley Cup Finals Schedule 2012: Kings X-Factors Who Must Shine to Keep Edge

The Los Angeles Kings took control of the Stanley Cup Finals in Game 1 with an overtime victory thanks to Anze Kopitar. For the Kings to maintain that edge over the New Jersey Devils, the team's depth players must continue to hold up their end of the bargain.

Here's a look a three players who don't receive as much recognition as Kopitar, Dustin Brown or Jonathan Quick, but are still key to the team's success. For a series schedule to see when you can catch these players in action, click here.


Willie Mitchell

If you're looking to find Mitchell during a game, he's usually the player diving on the ice to block a shot or outworking an opponent in the corner to gain possession of the puck. He's a blue-collar defenseman who has no problem doing the dirty work.

He has just two points in 15 playoff games, but his real value is illustrated by the 46 blocked shots, 23 hits and plus-eight rating. The 35-year-old veteran takes care of business in his own end, and that's all the Kings need from him.

He can play in any situation and against any line without missing a beat. That type of versatility is what it takes for an underdog like the Kings to make a deep run in the postseason.


Dustin Penner

Following the worst season of his career, not a lot was expected from Penner heading into the playoffs. Actually, his lack on contributions was one of the main reasons the Kings weren't considered a big threat when their surprising run began.

He's bounced back in a big way, however. Through 15 games, he's tallied 10 points, which is only seven less than he had during the entire regular season. And two of his three goals have been of the game-winning variety.

Between coming up in the clutch and smart defensive playing, he's like a completely different player from the one Kings fans watched all season. His improvement came a...

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