10 reflections on wild Stanley Cup playoffs | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in Canada10 reflections on wild Stanley Cup playoffs

Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 | 11:49 AM

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Los Angeles Kings defenceman Robyn Regehr whoops it up as he hoists the Stanley Cup at Staples Center on June 13, 2014. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) Los Angeles Kings defenceman Robyn Regehr whoops it up as he hoists the Stanley Cup at Staples Center on June 13, 2014. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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Offence was up. Depth was key. Nathan MacKinnon was brilliant. Here are 10 matters to consider after a wonderful eight weeks of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Now that we have had time to catch our breath from another fantastic and drama-filled Stanley Cup playoffs, what did we learn?

What do we take from the Los Angeles Kings' second title in three years?

Here are 10 reflections to digest and discuss:

1. No lead is safe

We should have learned this lesson last spring, when the Boston Bruins authored their incredible Game 7 comeback against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round and the Chicago Blackhawks late-game response to steal the Stanley Cup-clinching game in Boston.

Of the 93 playoff games this year, there were 15 multiple-goal comebacks. The Kings enjoyed four of them. In 12 of their 26 games, they entered the third period behind yet managed to win on four of those occasions.

2. Goaltenders need only be good, not great

In the past few years, we've grown accustomed to unbeatable goalies with remarkable save percentages leading their teams to championships. But Jonathan Quick saved his best for when he was needed, like his impressive shutout victory in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.

Here's how Quick's save percentage stacks up to recent Stanley Cup-winning goaltenders:

2014 - Jonathan Quick, LAK, .911

2013 - Corey Crawford, CHI, .932

2012 - Jonathan Quick, LAK, .946

2011 - Tim Thomas, BOS, .940

2010 - Antti Niemi, CHI, .910

2009 - Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT, .908

2008 - Chris Osgood, DET, .930

2007 - Jean-Sebastien Giguere, ANA, .922

2006 - Cam Ward, CAR, .920

3. Playoffs don't necessarily mean less offence

Would you be surprised to learn that there were slightly more goals scored in this post-season than in the regular season? The playoffs saw an average of 5.59 goals scored per game, up from 5.34 in the regular season.

The Kings themselves scored a league-high 88 goals in 26 games for a 3.38 gpg average. In the regular season, they were 26th at 2.42 gpg.

4. The more offence from the defence, the better

The group of Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, Slava Voynov, Willie Mitchell, Matt Greene, Robyn Regehr and Jeff Schultz contributed big time in the Kings' playoff run.

Three of Martinez's five goals were overtime winners. In total, the Kings defence combined for 19 goals and 59 points and a plus-27 rating, led by Mitchell's plus-10.

5. Offensive depth is important in today's NHL

The game has never been contested at a faster pace, so you need four lines to contribute in terms of minutes and offence. The Bruins were proof three years ago. The Kings and New York Rangers hammered home the point this spring.

Here's a breakdown of the Kings' goals scored by line:

25 - Dustin Brown/Anze Kopitar/Marian Gaborik

21 - Tanner Pearson/Jeff Carter/Tyler Toffoli

15 - Dwight King/Jarret Stoll/Justin Williams

8 - Kyle Clifford/Mike Richards/Trevor Lewis

6. Repeating possible, but not easy

There hasn't been a repeat Stanley Cup winner since the Detroit Red Wings won back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998. The Kings are still relatively young and, if they can lock up Gaborik, an unrestricted free agent, to a new contract, they will have most of their key components in place.

It's also scary to think how good the Kings will be with a full season of the kids, Toffoli and Pearson, playing alongside Carter.

7. Nathan Mackinnon will be amazing in 2014-15

MacKinnon's impressive Stanley Cup playoff debut is a distant memory because his Colorado Avalanche were eliminated on April 30. But he enjoyed a strong first-round against the Minnesota Wild with two goals and 10 points in seven games.

MacKinnon turns 19 on Sept. 1 and I expect him to be among the league's top point producers after all the confidence he picked up with his playoff performance.

8. Playoff participants to watch next season

I will be most interested to see how Rangers defenceman Ryan McDonagh and Montreal Canadiens backup goalie Dustin Tokarski build on their strong playoff outings.

Also worth watching will be Rangers right wing Rick Nash. He only scored three times in 25 playoff games. Can the former 40-goal scorer regain his form next year?

9. Potential UFAs who increased their value in playoffs

Gaborik, Mitchell and Greene all played well and contributed to the Kings cause. But the three likely will wind up back with Los Angeles.

On the Rangers side, Dominic Moore, Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot and Anton Stralman all increased their value. It will be interesting to see if a player like Pouliot sticks with the Rangers after playing for four different teams (Montreal, Boston, Tampa Bay, Rangers) in the last four seasons.

10. Player to be happiest for

After 1,023 regular season games and 67 more in the playoffs, it was nice to see 34-year-old Regehr hoist the Stanley Cup.

His post-season ended after he hurt his knee in the opener of the Kings second-round series against the Anaheim Ducks. But he played an important role in the comeback win over the San Jose Sharks in the first round and could have returned late in the final. But Greene had played so well that Kings head coach Darryl Sutter did not want to break up a winning lineup.

Regehr finally is a champion after his close call with the Calgary Flames a decade ago.

Follow Tim Wharnsby on Twitter @WharnsbyCBC

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