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Series at a glance: St. Louis-Los Angeles playoff preview

Apr 25, 2012, 1:59 PM EST

Kings Blues

Schedule

All times Eastern; *if necessary

Game 1: Saturday, April 28 at St. Louis, 7:30 p.m (NBCSN, TSN)
Game 2: Monday, April 30 at St. Louis, 9 p.m. (CNBC, TSN)
Game 3: Thursday, May 3 at Los Angeles, 10 p.m. (NBCSN, TSN)
Game 4: Sunday, May 6 at Los Angeles, 3 p.m. (NBC, TSN)
Game 5: *Tuesday, May 8 at St. Louis, TBD
Game 6: *Thursday, May 10 at Los Angeles, TBD
Game 7: *Saturday, May 12 at St. Louis, TBD

Three storylines to follow

1. The goaltending. Based on what happened in Round 1, this series promises to be a low-scoring affair — Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick (a Vezina nominee) allowed just eight goals in a five-game romp over Vancouver and St. Louis’ Brian Elliott allowed five in four games against San Jose.

Both Quick and Elliott finished top-five in goals against average, save percentage and shutouts during the regular season, and both represented the Western Conference at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game.

So yeah, pretty solid ‘tenders.

2. Striking similarities. The Blues and Kings are quite alike. Both underwent a in-season coaching change (Ken Hitchcock replaced Davis Payne, Darryl Sutter replaced Terry Murray), both are outstanding defensively (St. Louis led the NHL with 1.89 goals allowed per game; L.A. was second at 2.07) and both broke long playoff slumps in Round 1. The Kings won their first playoff series since 2001, the Blues their first since 2002.

3. Captains America. The series will feature an all-American battle between two of the league’s most physical forwards: Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown vs. St. Louis captain David Backes. Brown was the Kings’ driving force in Round 1, scoring four times (twice shorthanded) while averaging a point a game against. Backes was less of an offensive force — he only scored a single goal against the Sharks — but compensated by leading the team in takeaways and winning 58 percent of his faceoffs.

Records (reg. season)

No. 2 St. Louis: 49-22-11, 109 points (1st in Central) | No. 8 Los Angeles: 40-27-15, 95 points (3rd in Pacific)

Leading playoff scorers

St. Louis: Andy McDonald (4G-4A-8PTS) | Los Angeles: Dustin Brown (4G-1A-5PTS)

Starting goalies

St. Louis: Brian Elliott (3-0, 1.37 GAA)  | Los Angeles: Jonathan Quick (4-1, 1.59 GAA)

Head-to-head

Los Angeles won season series 3-1

Oct. 18: At Los Angeles 5, St. Louis 0
Nov. 22: Los Angeles 3, at St. Louis 2
Feb. 3: At St. Louis 1, Los Angeles 0
Mar. 22: At Los Angeles 1, St. Louis 0, SO

Playoff history

St. Louis leads 2-0
1969: St. Louis 4-0 (West Division Semifinals)
1998: St. Louis 4-0 (Western Conference Quarterfinals)

2012 playoffs

St. Louis: Def. San Jose 4-1 (WC quarters) | L.A.: Def. Vancouver 4-1 (WC quarters)

2011 playoffs

St. Louis: Did not qualify | L.A.: Def. Lost to San Jose 4-2 (WC quarters)

Stanley Cups

St. Louis: None | Los Angeles: None

Injuries

St. Louis: Jaroslav Halak (ankle) | Los Angeles: Scott Parse (hip), Kevin Westgarth (hand), Simon Gagne (concussion)

Poll

  1. fruitsareedible - Apr 25, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Yes, Brown’s one of the more physical forwards in the league when he’s not falling over at minimal contact to draw penalties (there’s a reason he’s always near the top of penalties drawn). Not as blatant as others, but he can be awfully light on his skates if he can’t get around a player. That said, I do think he’s extremely underrated and a very solid leader.

    • gmcwalker - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:15 PM

      I do not agree that Mr. Brown plays that way. I have watched over 450 games with him playing.
      That is acting like Mr. Alex Burrows who has won a double gold for his acting in the past few years and agitating. I personally think he should have stuck to Ball Hockey where he was player of the year some time ago. He is probably in their Hall of Fame by now.
      Mr. Brown’s style is the kind of a hockey winger who takes no prisoners. “Old School” If he can hit you he does and his opponets are still looking for him when he does not.
      He does frequently get out of control when trying to hit and the other player who hits him then often gets the two minutes.
      Has he ever embellished at all. Yes but only from and to a player that crossed the player code/line. That is what a Captain does.
      Remeber this is Hockey not Soccer.
      Kings in five.

  2. sunking1 - Apr 25, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Tough call on this series.
    LA seems built for the playoffs but St. Louis has played very all all year.
    Outstanding goalie matchup
    I think St. Louis in 7

    • gmcwalker - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:21 PM

      A great series. I have not seen it yet as I just got home. I love DVR.

  3. qauzaq - Apr 25, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Game 7 for sure. Not sure who will win but I hope it’s LA. GKG

  4. Chris Ross - Apr 25, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Nothing more exciting than this. Maybe the Predators-Coyotes series but other than that nothing beats this fascinating display of goaltending and defence.

    http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/defence-first-ratings-last/

  5. oside760 - Apr 25, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    blues suck ass

  6. thehighcountrybear - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    Predators v. Coyotes exciting…peyote buttons ripened early this year [ I played Black sabbath backwards and I saw God ]! Blues v. Kings will rock, but expect a stick thicket fest from Hitch…the subtle interference being refined to high art in Nashville, Phoenix and St. Louis these days…

  7. blomfeld - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    Blomfeld’s prediction: KINGS IN FIVE !

    That may sound a bit brash, but after the number the Kings did on the Canucks, that’s exactly what I see happening … and despite the defensive prowess of the Blues, I also see the Kings winning this thing by scoring often and in bunches. It’s going to be a great series regardless and I can’t wait now for Saturday night … GO KINGS GO !

  8. drez146 - Apr 26, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    5 games! I understand the point about beating Vancouver but the blues don’t have the pressure they did, and the blues were pretty good on home ice all year.

    STL in 7

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