May 18, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) battles for the puck between Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) and right wing Dustin Brown (23) during the second period in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Now that the Chicago Blackhawks own a 1-0 series lead in the Western Conference Final they will be focusing on Game 2, which will be played at the United Center Wednesday night. Game 1 was a lot closer than what the score showed at the end of 60 minutes and I wanted to point out 3 LA Kings players that pose a threat to the Chicago Blackhawks as this series pans out. I am focusing on these 3 players because of how they played in the regular season, through the first 2 rounds of the playoffs, and how they matched up to the Blackhawks in Game 1. Don’t forget the LA Kings were down 3-0 in the series vs the San Jose Sharks and came back to win 4-3.
During the regular season in 82 games Anze Kopitar led the entire team in every stat putting up 29 goals, 41 assists, 70 points, and a +/- of 34. He almost leads the team in every major category in the playoffs but currently is tied for second in goals on the team. Through 15 games he has 5 goals, 14 assists, 19 points, and a +/- of 7. Not only does his production show up on offense but his defensive side of the game is elite too. Along with Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron, Anze Kopitar is among the trio of Selke Trophy Finalists. If you are wondering, the Frank J. Selke Award is given “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.” So you know that his all-around game is very sound and you have to beat him and stop him if you want to win games. In Game 1 Jonathan Toews was the answer for managing Kopitar along with the help from Marian Hossa. The Chicago Blackhawks will have to continue to keep the puck out of his hands if they want to continue to win because Anze Kopitar doesn’t have too many games where he is held without a point.