Los Angeles Kings Hope to Make St Louis Sing the Blues!

Los Angeles Kings begin their defense of the Stanley Cup against the St Louis Blues.

After the lockout forced NHL regular season sprint the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings are ready to begin their quest for a repeat versus the St. Louis Blues. Unfortunately for the Kings two road losses over the past week, At Minnesota and Detroit moved them into a fifth spot and a road playoff start. The series gets under way Tuesday in St. Louis. The Blues were picked by many to be the top team in the Western Conference this season and got off to a quick start. The middle of their regular season was a rough patch but the Blues turned it on late in the regular season and are playing at an elite level right now. They will be formidable competition for the Kings.

The Kings dominated the regular season versus the Blues this year, sweeping all three games with multiple goal victories in all of them. The Kings were able to score goals on the Blues this year, something that hasn't been as easy of late. They scored a combined 14 goals in the three games played between the two clubs this year. They'll carry that confidence into the postseason versus the Blues. The most recent matchup, a 4-2 Kings victory was dominated by LA who had a 40-22 shot advantage over St. Louis and dominated possession in the game.

The Blues are a big and physical team without a really superstar but marked by balanced scoring. Chris Stewart has had a breakthrough year for the Blues and leads the team with 18 goals and 18 assists. Patrick Berglund has chipped in 17 goals. Blues captain David Backes had a down season from a goal scoring perspective but did chip in 22 assists and is the emotional and physical leader of the Blues club. The power forward sets the tone with his aggressive style of play. The Blues have a big and talented defensive corps led by young star Alex Pietrangelo, who led the club in time on the ice and chipped in 24 points. Pietrangelo teams with Kevin Shattenkirk to form one of the elite young defensive tandems in the National Hockey League. The Blues also made a couple of moves to shore up their defense at the trade deadline and the acquisitions of Jordan Leopold and Jay Bouwmeester has paid dividends and help propelled them to their late season run. Both defensemen have a ton of experience and Leopold's skill in the offensive zone gives the Blues an additional element. Brian Elliot is a talented goaltender who's been riding a hot streak of late. NHL series are about momentum and a hot netminder can carry a team to a series victory. The Kings will have to score some early goals and set the tone, preventing Elliot from getting on a hot streak and gaining confidence.

The key to victory for the Kings is just to play their game. The two late season road losses are likely just a blip on the radar and they'll be ready to go in the postseason. They have an extremely talented and deep roster with multiple lines that can score. The late season improvements to the defensive corps has them ready to make a deep playoff run. Jonathon Quick will again be the most important player. If Quick can regain last year's playoff form the Kings have as good a shot as any team to take home Lord Stanley's Cup.
Prediction: Kings in 6.

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