Western Conference Semi Finals Preview: Blues vs Kings

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

 

#2 St. Louis Blues vs #8 Los Angeles Kings

Season Series: Blues 1-2-1, Kings 3-1

Series Schedule:

Game 1: 4/28 LA @ STL 6:30 PM

Game 2: 4/30 LA @ STL 8 PM

Game 3: 5/3 STL @ LA 9 PM

Game 4: 5/6 STL @ LA 2 PM

Game 5*:  5/8 LA @ STL TBD

Game  6*: STL @ LA TBD

Game 7*: LA @ STL TBD

 

St. Louis

The Blues only needed 5 games to take out the Sharks in round one.  Andy McDonald and Patrick Bergland combined for 7 of the Blues’ 14 goals against San Jose.  Brian Elliot will take over the #1 goalie spot with Jaroslav Halak being ruled out for at least the first 2 games with a lower body injury.  Elliot had 9 shutouts in the regular season so there is no drop off whatsoever.  St. Louis had a pretty potent power play in the first round.  They scored 6 goals on 18 chances.  Only the Flyers had a better conversion percentage.  The Blues and Kings both play a very similar style of hockey so the special teams will be a big key to success.

Leading Scorer: Andy McDonald 4 goals, 4 assist, 8 points

Backstop: Brian Elliot 3-0 1.37 goals against average, .949 save percentage

Ex Blackhawk Factor: No ex Hawks

Difference Maker:  In a series that will be very low scoring the Blues will need someone who is willing to score some dirty goals.  In steps Jason Arnott.  This is the exact type of match up that Arnott was brought in for.  He is a gritty veteran who has a ton of playoff experience.  He will be a great leader for some of the younger players on the Blues.  If Arnott is effective in this series it will improve the Blues’ chances to advance.

 

Los Angeles

The Kings were everyone outside of Vancouver’s favorite team by defeating the Canucks in 5 games.  The Kings won all 3 games in Vancouver.  LA only scored 12 goals in the 5 games.  Dustin Brown scored 4 of those goals including 2 short handed goals in Game 2.  The Kings and Blues are mirror images of each other.  Both teams use great goaltending and stingy defense to overcome a low scoring offense.  Both teams turned their seasons around after bringing in a new veteran head coach during the season.  The Kings power play did not do very good against the Canucks, on scoring 3 goals in 26 chances.  Their penalty kill was good against the potent Vancouver attack, only giving up 3 goals in 21 penalties, including those 2 shorties from Brown.

Leading Score: Dustin Brown 4 goals, 1 assist, 5 points

Backstop: Jonathan Quick 4-1, 1.59 goals against average, .953 save percentage

Ex Blackhawk Factor: Colin Fraser

Difference Maker: The biggest key to the Kings success is Jonathan Quick.  He has carried this team on his shoulders all season long.  In 3 starts against St. Louis this year he gave up only one goal.  If continues to stand on his head the Kings should move on to the next round.

 

My Prediction: I am expecting nothing but lowing scoring and close games, maybe even a marathon multi-overtime time game.  Brian Elliot has been fantastic but I think Quick has been better.  Kings in 7.

Topics: Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, Stanley Cup Playoffs

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