The NHL Playoffs are finally upon us, which means it’s time to look ahead to what the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs hold. From the best team in hockey down to those who limped in at the very end of the season, this year’s field is loaded with teams itching to see their championship dreams realized. All the action kicks off April 30th, so let’s take a look at what’s in store for the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues.
|SERIES H||TIME (ET)||#4 VS. #5||NETWORKS|
|TUESDAY, APRIL 30, 2013||8 P.M.||LOS ANGELES AT ST. LOUIS||CNBC, CBC|
|THURSDAY, MAY 2, 2013||9:30 P.M.||LOS ANGELES AT ST. LOUIS||CNBC, CBC|
|SATURDAY, MAY 4, 2013||10 P.M.||ST. LOUIS AT LOS ANGELES||NBCSN, CBC|
|MONDAY, MAY 6, 2013||10 P.M.||ST. LOUIS AT LOS ANGELES||NBCSN, CBC|
|*WEDNESDAY, MAY 8, 2013||TBD||LOS ANGELES AT ST. LOUIS||CBC|
|*FRIDAY, MAY 10, 2013||TBD||ST. LOUIS AT LOS ANGELES||CBC|
|*MONDAY, MAY 13, 2013||TBD||LOS ANGELES AT ST. LOUIS||CBC|
Los Angeles Kings:
The Kings are coming off their first ever Stanley Cup championship and they’re going to do their best to defend their title belt against a fierce Western Conference. That battle begins with perhaps the most dangerous team in the conference, the St. Louis Blues. The Kings won the Stanley Cup last year by staying healthy, and that’s just not something that’s happened this year as the loss of Willie Mitchell has been huge for Los Angeles. Still, this is a team that is still running on the adrenaline of the Cup victory last season and they know how to win in the NHL Playoffs.
St. Louis Blues:
I love the Blues and think they can be a real sleeper team if they stay healthy and remain hot. Other teams have issues with depth, including the Kings, but trades at the deadline this year landed the Blues players that give them the same crucial depth on defense that they have up front on offense. Netminder Brian Elliot was golden down the stretch of the season but his postseason track record isn’t great. He’ll need to step things up this time around of the Blues want any chance at making the run they’re capable of making.
Don’t count the Kings out, as they’re the Stanley Cup champions for a reason. They can score like crazy and may be able to outshoot the Blues and ware them out. But St. Louis is deep on both ends of the puck and it will take a lot to make that a weakness for them. Los Angeles is still equipped with tools to win, and while Mitchell’s absence stings, they might end up pulling this one out. Still, St. Louis is red-hot, deep and hungry which is exactly what they need to be a sleeper team in the playoffs.
Prediction: St. Louis Blues win series 4-3