April 29, 2013 by The Hockey Daily.
This is going to be a physical clash between two of the NHL’s Cup favourites. The Los Angeles Kings who won the Stanley Cup last season and the St. Louis Blues who are built similarly, both look like they have what it takes to go deep into the playoffs. Unfortunately for the viewers in search of good physical hockey, one of these Western giants will be going home early this Spring. The losing team is going to be very disappointed and the winning team is going to be very bruised up.
The Kings Were Too Much For The Blues In The Playoffs Last Year.
Almost exactly one year ago the Los Angeles Kings swept the St. Louis Blues in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Not that anyone thought the Blues were the better team or should’ve won the series, but it was a little surprising one year ago when the Central Division champs couldn’t even win a game against the inevitable Cup champs LA. This time around the Blues will want to win four games and they’ll put up a better fight. One year smarter and one year hungrier makes the Blues more dangerous this time around. Whereas the Kings will be trying to break a recent trend of Cup winners losing in the first round the season following their championship. Being a shortened season maybe things will be different for the Kings.
The St. Louis Blues Have Amazing Forward Depth.
The Blues have one of the best four line forward units in the NHL. Where they may lack in absolute high end talent like their rivals in Chicago, Vancouver and LA they sufficiently match any top twelve in hockey as far as being able to throw out four very good lines on a consistent basis. This alone makes them a serious danger in a seven game series. Their depth gives them leeway on injuries, keeps them fresher and more energetic, and it makes the match up game very difficult. How do you match up with a team that’s top three lines are equally potent? That’s not easy. However, the Kings are just as deep so it’s not so much a big advantage as it is a good sign the Blues have a great chance to win this series.
Do The Kings Have A Weakness?
The Kings possess an almost unbeatable collection of skill, size, grit and heart that makes them a danger to win the Cup again. That being said, you don’t see too many back-to-back champions anymore so it won’t be easy. For a team that faced very little adversity to win the Stanley Cup a year ago, they may not be so lucky this time around. No one really knows how they will respond if they find themselves under the gun down 2-0, 3-1 or 3-2 in a playoff series against the Blues. Their lack of experience in series’ where they have their backs against the wall could be the secret to testing their resolve as champions. It would be interesting to witness the Kings in a comeback situation if the Blues can get out to a commanding lead early in this series.
Kings in 6.
There is a trend in the NHL that suggests Stanley Cup champs have a hard time repeating but this is a short season and the Kings are a very young team. If they show up and play to win they are probably still the most hard to play against team in the NHL.