Kings emerge from rough season as a playoff powerhouse

Associated Press

5/4/2012 4:16:45 PM

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Maybe the Los Angeles Kings were a slumbering giant all season all along, only needing the right coach and the proper amount of desperation to grow into their potential.

Or perhaps the Kings are on a serious roll, capitalizing on a perfect confluence of improvement and underachieving opponents to win seven of their first eight post-season games.

Most of the Kings think the answer is somewhere in between. It's clear this playoff powerhouse is peaking at the perfect time.

After largely dominating the first three games of their second-round series, Los Angeles could finish a stunning sweep of the second-seeded St. Louis Blues on Sunday at Staples Center.

The Kings thought they had Stanley Cup-level talent before the season. It didn't emerge until coach Darryl Sutter took over before Christmas and the long-slumbering offence came to life around the trade deadline.