Skip to content

Playoffs Tonight: Blues challenge defending Stanley Cup champion Kings

Apr 30, 2013, 8:11 AM EST

Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup Victory Parade Getty Images

The playoffs start tonight and if we learned one thing from last year, it’s that any team can win, regardless of their seed.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at tonight’s action:

Game 1: The Chicago Blackhawks host the Minnesota Wild (8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Chicago got off to a historic 21-0-3 start this season and never really hit a major rough patch. The Wild did manage to eke out a shootout victory against the Blackhawks on Jan. 30, but Chicago won the other two matches.

The Blackhawks’ depth is incredible, but 28-year-old goaltender Corey Crawford still has a lot to prove when it comes to postseason hockey. Plus, the Minnesota Wild can use their status as the clear underdogs to their advantage.

“I think now that they’re in the playoffs, they feel they have nothing to lose and they can relax and play their game,” Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson told CSN Chicago.

Game 1: The St. Louis Blues host the Los Angeles Kings (8:00 p.m. ET, CNBC)

We haven’t seen a team win the Stanley Cup in back-to-back campaigns since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings. Can the Los Angeles Kings defy the odds and win it all again?

It’s hard to bet against the Kings given how spectacularly they cruised through the playoffs last season. Along the way they swept the Blues in the Western Conference semifinals and they were also perfect against St. Louis in the 2013 regular season.

All the same, St. Louis has a lot of offensive weapons, a stellar defense, and an incredibly hot goaltender in Brian Elliott. Regardless of what the Kings have done to them in the past, this isn’t a team that can be taken lightly.

Game 1: The Anaheim Ducks host the Detroit Red Wings (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Detroit won four straight games to get into the playoffs while Anaheim has a mediocre 8-9-2 record in its last 19 games. So which Anaheim Ducks will show up for this series and will Detroit’s edge in momentum be the difference in Game 1?

33-year-old forward Johan Franzen wasn’t able to be a major player in Detroit’s last two postseason runs, but he averaged a point-per-game in April. He’s a big X-Factor in this series and so is 30-year-old netminder Viktor Fasth. It’s not even clear if Fasth will be the Ducks’ starter in Game 1, but can he continue his remarkable and unusual rookie season if he’s called upon?

Latest Posts
  1. Avs without Erik Johnson for up to eight weeks

    Jan 26, 2015, 6:16 PM EST

    Erik Johnson Getty Images

    The Avalanche are trying to claw their way into the playoffs.

  2. Wild send Kuemper to AHL on conditioning stint

    Jan 26, 2015, 5:52 PM EST

    Darcy Kuemper Getty Images

    Minnesota had three healthy goaltenders on its roster.

  3. Leafs captain Phaneuf week-to-week with upper-body injury

    Jan 26, 2015, 4:22 PM EST

    Milan Michalek Dion Phaneuf AP

    This might be the result of fighting in back-to-back games.

  4. Sabres suspend Zadorov, lose Neuvirth

    Jan 26, 2015, 3:12 PM EST

    Nikita Zadorov Getty Images

    The post-All-Star Game portion of the season isn’t starting any better for Buffalo.

  5. Lamoriello indicates time behind bench is winding down

    Jan 26, 2015, 2:21 PM EST

    New Jersey Devils Vs. Boston Bruins At TD Garden Getty Images

    He’s been overseeing co-coaches Adam Oates and Scott Stevens.

  6. Lightning concerned about Johnson’s lower-body injury

    Jan 26, 2015, 1:30 PM EST

    Tyler johnson Getty Images

    He didn’t end up playing in the All-Star Game.

  7. L.A. Sorry? Kings waive Mike Richards

    Jan 26, 2015, 12:31 PM EST

    Mike Richards Getty Images

    Remember, the club opted not to amnesty his contract last June.

  8. Kevin Bieksa has hand surgery, will miss 6-8 weeks

    Jan 26, 2015, 12:23 PM EST

    Kevin Bieksa Getty Images

    Canucks will give Frank Corrado a chance to show what he can do.

  9. Johansen, Karlsson, Parise named NHL’s three stars of the week

    Jan 26, 2015, 12:12 PM EST

    2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game Getty Images

    Columbus’ star center is having a nice little run at the moment.

  10. Ovechkin finally gets car once Honda learns why he wanted it so badly

    Jan 26, 2015, 11:23 AM EST

    Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

    “Everybody felt like I just want a car to drive it.”

  11. KHL president: Russia focuses on World Championships, not World Cup in 2016

    Jan 26, 2015, 10:55 AM EST

    2014 Paralympic Winter Games - Previews: Day 0 Getty Images

    Ilya Kovalchuk deemed it a “worthy tournament,” though.

  12. ‘Crippling and potentially historic’ blizzard threatens cancellations Tuesday

    Jan 26, 2015, 9:51 AM EST

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptq1nmuzn2y4yzg1mdq0nzk3zjq2m2mwnjdkmdmxzgq3 AP

    Including an intriguing game between the Islanders and Rangers.

  13. Blue Jackets proud as Columbus shows it’s a hockey town

    Jan 25, 2015, 9:49 PM EST

    2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition - Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge Getty Images

    “We’re so proud of our city for showing that hockey is such a big deal here.”

  14. From contract dispute to All-Star MVP, Johansen’s had quite the year

    Jan 25, 2015, 9:25 PM EST

    2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game Getty Images

    “This is something I’ll remember for a very long time.”

Featured video

Who will excite most in All-Star game?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. K. Letang (3746)
  2. S. Crosby (3136)
  3. E. Malkin (3012)
  4. P. Hornqvist (2992)
  5. C. Price (2930)
  1. J. Ortio (2870)
  2. S. Bobrovsky (2725)
  3. P. Rinne (1869)
  4. J. Toews (1814)
  5. Z. Rinaldo (1803)