Found April 29, 2012 on centericechat.com:


Welcome to Center Ice Chat’s Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview and Predictions series. With Round 1 in the books as of Thursday night, we take a look at the crop of the few, the proud, the Conference semifinalists.  The Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues have begun the Mirror Series, and there’s no telling who will come out on top, in part, because, there’s no greater distinction between the two. Andy McDonald is shown here challenging Jonathan Quick. The Blues/Kings series will be just that if Los Angeles can fix a few minor problems. Despite last night’s King’s 3-1 win — with a Dustin Penner empty netter, don’t be swayed into thinking Los Angeles has this series under wraps. The two teams are similar, first off, in coaching style. It’s known that Ken Hitchcock of the Blues and Darryl Sutter of the Kings are not player’s coach. They’re very tactile in more traditional coaching, and both possess the mindset of defense first. Here’s why the Blues have the edge:
  • Forecheck: Hitchcock said before the series his team doesn’t get enough credit with the forecheck. His top line has been able to make an impact in the possession category, as the Blues ranked No. 1 overall. (The Kings ranked a close fourth.
  • Shots against in the playoffs: The Blues rank better substantially against the Kings in this category. The Blues: 4th of 16 with 28.8; Kings: 15th of 16 with 33.5.
  • Powerplay: The Blues are 4th of 16 in the playoffs at 28.6 success rate; Kings are 14th of 16 with a mere 9.7 success rate.
  • Penalty kill: Probably the more important of the two special teams, the Blues rank 3rd of 16 in the playoffs with a 90.9 success rate; Kings are 6th of 16 with an 87.5 success rate. It’s not as substantial, but, still, the Blues have an edge.
And, alas, here’s what the Kings have going for themselves:
  • It’s nothing substantial, but the phenomenal talent of goalies needs to be addressed. And the Kings barely, just barely, have the better man in the crease within the playoffs. Jonathan Quick has a GAA of 1.49 and save percentage of .955. Meanwhile, Brian Elliott has a GAA of 1.51  and save percentage of .944 (hardly anything to sneeze about).
  • Chances: It’s all about materializing those chances. And although Anze Kopitar hasn’t been able to convert much, he’s among the playoffs leaders in shots. He has 20 so far, good enough for the eighth spot. But, he has only one goal and three assists. We’ll see if he can break out of his slump and bolster his numbers.
Aside from the previous, the Kings really have a lot to work on. Down the line on the stats sheets, the Blues have an advantage mores than the Kings. Looking at players with most goals (Andy McDonald 4G) and assists (Mcdonald, Berglund 4A each), and defenders with points (Alex Pietrangelo, 4), the Blues have outdone the Kings. Sure, it’s basic numbers, but there’s not a lot of hope if the likes of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter can’t manufacture like they should have while in Philadelphia. Final prediction: Blues in 6 games With the Kings grabbing Game 1 in St. Louis, expect Ken Hitchcock to really clamp down on the imperfections that bled through, and close the gate on an overzealous Kings in Game 2 on Monday. Thereafter, expect the Kings to win once in Los Angeles, while the Blues close it back in L.A. for the one-game stand. Matthew Wilson is editor of Center Ice Chat. Follow him on Twitter @Mattjw24. Be sure to also Like us on Facebook and to Follow our Tumblr page. If you'd like to contribute, or appear as a guest columnist, please email us at CenterIceChat@gmail.com.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Experience brings confidence for Kings, Blues

ST. LOUIS -- A few weeks ago, before the Kings began their playoff journey, center Jarret Stoll said that as a young player with Edmonton in 2006, he and his No. 8-seeded Oilers teammates gained a lot of confidence from upsetting the No. 1-seeded Detroit Red Wings. Those Oilers went on to the Stanley Cup finals that spring, losing in seven games to Carolina. Now that the No. 8-seeded...

Hitchcock named finalist for Jack Adams Award

Courtesy: Blues Media Relations ST. LOUIS St. Louis Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock has been named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award by the National Hockey League (NHL). The Jack Adams Award is given annually to the coach judged to have contributed the most to his teams success. Former Blues head coaches to win the award include Joel Quenneville in 2000, Brian Sutter in 1991...

Jaroslav Halak will not return against Kings

The St. Louis Blues have announced that goalie Jaroslav Halak will miss the remainder of the Blues second round series with the Los Angeles Kings. - Photo courtesy of Getty Images On a night that saw the Los Angeles Kings score four first period goals and five total in a 5-2 defeat of the St. Louis Blues in game two of the Western Conference semifinals, Blues fans got more bad news...

Kings grind out a win in opener

A few hours before Game 1 of the second-round playoff series, St. Louis Ken Hitchcock said those expecting a low-scoring game between the Kings and Blues would be "shocked and surprised." No, not really. In a game that was every bit as physical and tight-checking as expected, the two teams that allowed the fewest goals in the regular season went down to the wire, and...

Barret Jackman disappeared when Blues needed him most

St. Louis Blues defenseman and assistant captain Barret Jackman posted a minus three and played just over 13 minutes in the Blues 5-2 humiliating defeat against the L.A. Kings on Monday night. - Photo courtesy of Getty Images With the status of star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo uncertain for the St. Louis Blues second round, game two matchup with the Los Angeles Kings, everybody...

Los Angeles Kings: Anze Kopitar and His Sweet Short-Handed Goal

On Monday night the Los Angeles Kings took it to the St. Louis Blues in Game Two of their Western Conference Semifinal playoff matchup. The Kings jumped all over St. Louis, shooting out to a 4-0 lead after one period. Anze Kopitar scored two of those goals, one of them coming when the team was short-handed. The above video shows that goal, as captain Dustin Brown broke up a pass...

Blues embarrassed by 0-2 series start to Kings

ST. LOUIS It was a scene St. Louis Blues fans hadn't experienced in quite some time. Cheering sarcastically because the first period was almost over. Booing even louder when the visiting Los Angeles Kings scored yet another goal just before the end of the period. But when it was all said and done and the painful remaining seconds had finally run off the clock, the Blues found...

Kings 5, Blues 2

Anze Kopitar scored twice in a four-goal, first-period blitz as the Los Angeles Kings embarrassed the Blues from the opening faceoff, whipping St. Louis 5-2 Monday night for their fifth straight road win this postseason. Brad Richards and Jeff Carter had a goal apiece and Dustin Penner and Dustin Brown each had a pair of assists in a period that was one goal shy of the franchise...

Stanley Cup Playoff Preview:  St. Louis Blues vs. LA Kings

I continue my analysis of the 2nd round Stanley Cup playoff series by analyzing the playoff series between the St. Louis Blues and the Los Angeles (LA) Kings. Both teams won their opening-round series in five games.  While the Blues erased their 10-year series-winning playoff drought in impressive fashion by dispatching the San Jose Sharks, the 8th-seeded Kings pulled off the Stanley...

Blues can't recover from Kings' fast start

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Anze Kopitar scored twice in a four-goal, first-period blitz as the Los Angeles Kings embarrassed the Blues from the opening faceoff, whipping St. Louis 5-2 Monday night for their fifth straight road win this postseason. Brad Richards and Jeff Carter had a goal apiece and Dustin Penner and Dustin Brown each had a pair of assists in a period that was one goal shy...

Fantasy Hockey Playoff ONE: Kings And Blues

  Here is the blunt version of this evening's preview of the St. Louis Blues versus the Los Angeles Kings.  There are a lot of crazy things that could be expected in this series.  This is one that could be more entertaining than the block party between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals.  It is one of those to keep an eye on because of the goaltending, scoring...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.