Blues-Kings Playoff Preview

ncbstaff April 26, 2012 2
BluesKingsPlayoffs1 150x150 Blues Kings Playoff Preview

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE – Presswire. We know it's going to be a fight to the finish, but who will win the Round 2 series between the Blues and Kings?

With one round of playoffs completed, many prognosticators are predicting the St. Louis Blues will go all the way. Such a crazy concept considering that in early November the Blues fired head coach Davis Payne and replaced him with Ken Hitchcock. What a long strange trip it has been!

The Los Angeles Kings have certainly had the St. Louis Blues number this season. The Blues were 1-2-1 against the Kings during the regular season, with the most recent game being in Los Angeles on March 22, a 1-0 shootout win by the Kings. In that game, Jonathan Quick outplayed Brian Elliott. Every game of this series should resemble that game … but don’t give the Kings the advantage just yet. Let’s take a look at how the Blues and Kings match up for this second round playoff action.
 
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Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings makes a save against David Backes #42 of the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on January 18, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (January 17, 2011 – Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America)

The Blues starting line didn’t seem to be very productive in the first round of the playoffs. David Backes, T.J. Oshie and David Perron only contributed two goals. This, however, is why they call it a team sport. When someone is in a slump, it is the job of the rest of the team to step up, and that is exactly what Patrik Berglund, Alexander Steen and Andy McDonald did. The three of them contributed eight combined goals.

For the Kings, Dustin Brown … “What can Brown do for you?” … and the rest of his first line made their presence known in the first round of the playoffs. Brown scored a team-high four goals. His fellow line mate, Anze Kopitar, followed with a goal and three assists, and Justin Williams had four assists.
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Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings shoots the puck against Roman Polak #46 and Jaroslav Halak #41 both of the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on November 22, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (November 21, 2011 – Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America)

The Kings second line did not look too shabby in the series versus the Canucks either. Mike Richards had a goal and two assists, Jeff Carter seems to finally be recovered following his foot injury and Jarrett Stoll had a pair of game winning goals against the Canucks. Watch out.

With the concussion drama hanging over the Blues heads going into the first round of the playoffs versus the San Jose Sharks, their defensemen came out ready to play, or fight as it seemed. Roman Polak made his presence known at the end of Game 2, and as Hitchcock said, “You found out, don’t open the Roman Polak door. Don’t ever open that door.”

When you’re talking Kings playoffs, and defense, you have to talk Drew Doughty. He played a team-high 26:32 per game and took only two minor penalties. He is most definitely a force to be reckoned with on the ice, and the Blues had better be ready for him.

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Goalie Brian Elliott #1 of the St. Louis Blues makes a save against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on March 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (March 21, 2012 – Source: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America)

The Blues-Kings goalie match-up is a good one! Brian Elliott will most likely get the start for the Blues in Game 1. Jaroslav Halak is still recovering from his lower-body injury that he received in Game 2 when one of his fellow team mates collided with him. Elliott had an outstanding showing in the first round, stopping 93 of 98 shots.

Who doesn’t love Jonathan Quick? With Quick in goal, the Kings held the Canucks to just eight goals in five games. The Blues had better come ready to play when dealing with Jonathan Quick.

The big advantage that the Blues bring into this series is their power play skills. These power play skills came speeding to the forefront in the first round of the postseason. They scored a goal in four of the five games against San Jose and finished at 33.3-percent (6-for-18). But even more impressive was their penalty killing. The Sharks came into the first round of the playoffs with the second-best power play in the regular season. The Blues annihilated that by stopping nine Shark power plays during the final three games of the series. Very impressive.

Expect this series to be a tight one, and expect these two teams to play all out, ever game. The match up of Elliott and Quick in goal is an exciting one, and both of these teams are hungry to move on to the next round of the playoffs. This should be a great series to watch!

Go Blues!

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2 Comments »

  1. Jim April 26, 2012 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    This will definitely be a great series to watch. Now that the Black Hawks are out I’m turning my attention to the Blues.

    Lets all hope the cross checks are hard, and LEGAL!! And if they’re not, go ask Torres what happens next!

    Great article Ms. Kelly!!

  2. Dave April 27, 2012 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Good article, but how can you say that Elliot got outplayed in a game in which he recorded a shutout? Giving up one goal in the shootout is not “getting outplayed”. And there are no shootouts in the playoffs.

    If guys like Patrik Berglund can get to the net and create traffic jams like they did against the Sharks, then Quick’s stellar play is at least somewhat neutralized. Can’t stop what you can’t see – especially if it changes direction on the way in.

    GO BLUES!

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