Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 4/27/12
FOX Sports Midwest will have complete postgame coverage following each Blues playoff game beginning with Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals Saturday night at Scottrade Center. John Kelly and Bernie Federko will anchor the postgame shows, which will feature highlights, analysis and interviews from inside the Blues locker room. Before the Blues begin play against the Los Angeles Kings Saturday night, Kelly spoke with FOXSportsMidwest.com to preview the series. FSMidwest: It's been a full week since the Blues closed out the San Jose Sharks in five games. Will the long layoff be a factor in the series? John Kelly: "That's just the way it goes. The Blues won their series in five games, just like the Kings, and then they got some rest. Overall I think it's a good thing for the Blues. They are hoping and wanting to go very deep and every game you don't play is beneficial. You get more rest. I think it's a good thing. Even though the fans and everyone are excited to start, I think you have to have the mindset that you are going deep, so it's good for you to rest." FSM: And the Kings had nearly the same amount of rest also, so it shouldn't matter much at all, right? JK: "Exactly and I agree. If the Kings had gone seven games, they might have had an advantage early in the series but the it would have favored the Blues later in the series because they would have been the rested team so yea its almost identical so it's almost a wash as far as that's concerned." FSM: Do the Blues lose any of the momentum they gained by beating the Sharks in round one because of the long layoff? JK: "I don't think either team is going to have any kind of momentum from the first round because they've both had a break. I don't think so. I think it's a totally different series and there's not really any kind of momentum or lack there of going into round two. It's going to be who plays the best in Game 1 and then in the rest of the games this series. Both teams will obviously come in with a lot of confidence. The Blues handled a veteran, good team in San Jose and the Kings knocked off the Presidents Trophy winning Canucks so they will both come in with a lot of confidence." FSM: The series features two of the best goaltenders in the league in Jonathan Quick of the Kings and Brian Elliott of the Blues, meaning goals figure to be at a premium, right? JK: "That's probably an understatement considering the Blues lead the NHL in goals against and the Kings were second best. Both Jonathan Quick and Brian Elliott had fantastic years. I go back to the game in L.A. in mid-March, the 1-0 shootout loss to the Kings, the shots were 37-35 L.A. and there were just a ton of scoring chances and both Quick and Elliott were great, it was a dead even hockey game and the Kings won in a shootout but I think we're going to see a ton of 1-0 games in this series or 2-1 and a lot of overtime games. There really is going to be no room out there at all because both teams forecheck so well." FSM: Can the power play be as good for the Blues against the Kings as it was in round one against the Sharks? JK: "Obviously they hope they can but I doubt it because the Sharks were the second worst in the regular season at killing penalties. They were just not very good at all. They were very passive and not very aggressive and the Blues took advantage of it. The Kings scored at least two shorthanded goals in that series vs. Vancouver. They are much more aggressive. So who will have the advantage? We will find out, but I'd rather go into a series with a hot penalty kill unit than a hot power play because by and large after a couple games that penalty kill figures out the power play. The blues PK has been real good in the last two moths and hopefully for them it continues." FSM: Both these teams made coaching changes in the middle of the season and seem to be similar in a lot of ways. Would you agree? JK: "They are. They both play great defense and they have superb goaltending. The Kings have a big team, a real big club. They are going to be a lot more physical and faster than the Blues saw in the first round. I do think the Blues have more depth on their bottom two lines. I think the Blues are a deeper team. Do the Kings have more high-end skill on their first line? You could argue that, but I don't think there's a big difference from Anze Kopitar to David Backes or Dustin Brown to T.J. Oshie, I think they are pretty comparable players. Hopefully the Blues have the advantage on the bottom two lines. Also, people always overlook the Blues scoring depth from their back end with Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk and Kris Russell and I know the Kings have Drew Doughty but I think the Blues have more offense from their blue line as well, so we'll see if that plays into the series." FSM: Final question, John. It's been ten years since the Blues were in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. As someone with ties to the Blues organization going back several years, how excited are you with the Blues' success? JK: "It's obviously very exciting for all Blues fans. It's been a dry spell here as we know, no playoffs except for 2009, which was a quick four and done. I don't want to say I'm surprised because I've always known this is a great sports town and a great hockey town, but wherever I go and looking around town there's signs everywhere and you go into the store and there's Blues cookies and stuff so I think the support this team has gotten around the city has been phenomenal and it's well deserved. This has been a team that's been great since day one and has almost had a Cinderella story so far to their season and hopefully it continues, but I'm the most happy for all the fans that have been so loyal to this team over the last five and six years in particular during some lean times. They can celebrate that first round win and hopefully there's three more celebrations before we're all said and done here."
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