This series will very much be about two different teams with two different styles of hockey trying to impose their style on the other team to the point of victory. The clashing of two different styles could perhaps end in a sort of yin and yang wash. At that point, the decision in the series will come down to the goaltenders, Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings.
Last year’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner(MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs), Jonathan Quick, stuggled throughout most of the regular, for the Kings, after he had offseason back surgery, but he seems to have found his stride, in the playoffs. During the regular season, Quick had a modest win/loss record of 18-13, with a solid Goals Against Average of 2.45, and a sub-par Save Percentage of .902%, all of a lesser quality than his averaged career totals. In the playoffs however, Quick has rebounded. Entering the Western Conference Finals, Quick has a record of 8-5, an outstanding Goals Against Average of 1.50, and an incredible Save Percentage of .948%. He has clearly shaken off his poor regular season and is back to his total-shutdown ways in the playoffs. The Blackhawks will certainly have their hands full trying to figure him out.
Corey Crawford had an incredible regular season, to follow his sophomore slump season. Crawford entered the 2013 season with more than a fair-share of doubters. Doubters that he silenced with an outstanding record of 19-5, an elite Goals Against Average of 1.94, and a stingy Save Percentage of .926%. Crawford has kept up the strong play in the playoffs, with an 8-4 record, a Goals Against Average of 1.70, and a Save Percentage of .938%. Crawford has a susceptibility of surrendering “soft” goals every now and then, but his play in the regular season and the post-season has provided the Hawks with more good than bad, as the enter the Western Conference Finals.
The numbers suggest that this series should feature should be a quality goaltenders dual. Both Quick, and Crawford have played exceptionally well in the playoffs, and it will be up the the offenses of the Hawks and Kings to see if they can figure them out, as every team that has tried this post-season, has failed. It should be an interesting series.