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Coyotes vs. Kings Conference Final Poll

What, no black?
What, no black?

Happy Mother's Day to you and your Hallmark-designated family member of choice.

While you digest the idea of Rangers vs. Devils for a trip to the Stanley Cup final (as well as whether D. Hunter's impact means anything), the other side of the bracket gets underway tonight.

This is our regular poll of who you think will win the Western Conference final (along with who you'd prefer win), but first let's look back at how our readers have done with their picks so far:

Rd. 1 Series Majority Win Pick Plurality Pick Result
Coyotes vs. Blackhawks Chi (50%) Chi in 6 (42%) Phx in 6
Blues vs. Sharks StL (75%) StL in 6 (31%) StL in 5
Predators vs. Red Wings Nas (56%) Nas in 6 (28%) Nas in 5
Canucks vs. Kings Van (65%) Van in 6 (33%) LA in 5
Rangers vs. Senators Ott (55%) Ott in 7 (24%) NY in 7
Penguins vs. Flyers Pit (50%) Phi in 7 (22%) Phi in 6
Panthers vs. Devils NJ (75%) NJ in 5 (37%) NJ in 7
Bruins vs. Capitals Bos (75%) Bos in 6 (57%) Was in 7
Rd. 2 Series Majority Winner Plurality Result
Blues vs. Kings StL (58%) LA in 6 (29%) LA in 4
Coyotes vs. Predators Nas (74%) Nas in 6 (47%) Phx in 5
Flyers vs. Devils Phi (75%) Phi in 6 (40%) NJ in 5
Rangers vs. Capitals NYR (51%) NYR in 6 (25%) NY in 7

Obviously different visitors here have different, ah, allegiances, and this is Internet democracy -- about as functional as real-world democracy -- but it's fun to see how many outright majority winner picks ended up wrong (8 of 12 series so far).

Coyotes vs. Kings

This could be the first series this postseason in which the Kings -- who I now see as the Cup favorite, for whatever that's worth -- might finally be the consensus pick to move forward. Which, going by how these playoffs have proceeded so far, probably means they lose.

Phoenix to me seems like Nashville in the prior round: Riding a hot goalie who is due to come back down to earth. The Coyotes have been outshot by an average of 10 shots per game so far in these playoffs, and whether or not they continue getting some early leads, it's difficult to see that changing much against the Kings.

[More on this series in my conference final preview for the SB Nation hub here, where the Kings look stronger in most categories.]

Feel-Good Stories

For Phoenix, it's great to see captain Shane Doan get a run after all of his years with that franchise. Lots of fans still have a soft spot for "loyalty" as we interpret it, and few have stuck it out through tougher times than Doan.

For L.A., you could argue grumpy Darryl Sutter is a feel-good resurrection, as he's always been a better coach than a GM and things ended miserably in Calgary. Or you can go for the ever-popular Matt Moulson brother-in-law angle, as Jonathan Quick could earn himself a nice shiny rebuttal the next time Moulson scores on him. But I'd go with Anze Kopitar, the Slovenian star whose talent too many still don't realize.

Pick 'em

I haven't conjured a rooting interest for this one yet. Even though the Kings knocked off the Blues, who occupy the other half of my Type Fail blood, I respect this team and think they're the most enjoyable one remaining in the playoffs. On the other hand, a Cup win by them means the only surviving '67 franchise without a Cup is, indeed, the Blues.

Meanwhile, it'd be pretty cool for the Phoenix fans after all their torture to see their team in the finals. And it'd be pretty hilarious if the NHL's team were playing for the Cup. And part of the nostalgic uni lover in me would find it offensive if the Kings finally got their picture in the Cup finals wearing None More Black again instead of the awesome purple that is their pre-fad heritage.

Heart Says: Drama, please.

Head Says: Kings in five.

TV Schedule

Schedule-wise, both conference final series are on a good every-other-night schedule except for a two-day break created by no games being scheduled this Friday night.

Sunday, may 13, 2012 8 pm Los Angeles at Phoenix NBCSN, TSN, RDS
tuesday, may 15, 2012 9 pm Los Angeles at Phoenix NBCSN, TSN, RDS
tHURSDAY, may 17, 2012 9 pm Phoenix AT Los Angeles NBCSN, TSN, RDS
SUNDAY, may 20, 2012 3 pm Phoenix AT Los Angeles NBC, CBC, RDS
*tuesday, may 22, 2012 9 pm Los Angeles at Phoenix NBCSN, CBC, RDS
*tHURSDAY, may 24, 2012 9 pm Phoenix AT Los Angeles NBCSN, CBC, RDS
*SATURDAY, may 26, 2012 8 pm Los Angeles at Phoenix TBD, CBC, RDS