Skip to content

Playoffs Tonight: Blues challenge defending Stanley Cup champion Kings

Apr 30, 2013, 8:11 AM EDT

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. Flyers re-sign Couturier: six years, $26 million

    Jul 28, 2015, 4:39 PM EDT

    New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Four Getty Images

    Nice payday after posting a career-high in goals this season.

  2. For Pens, Tuesday’s moves were all about depth and finances up front

    Jul 28, 2015, 4:23 PM EDT

    Jim Rutherford AP

    “When you look at the structure of our salaries and our cap, it’s important to get those bottom-six cap hits in better shape.”

  3. Journeyman Steckel signs in German League

    Jul 28, 2015, 3:21 PM EDT

    David Steckel AP

    With the Nurnberg Ice Tigers.

  4. Benning calls Sutter a ‘foundation piece’ for Canucks

    Jul 28, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game One Getty Images

    “When the games mean something, that’s when he’s at his best.”

  5. Here’s a chart that shows which teams have been good/bad at drafting

    Jul 28, 2015, 1:21 PM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

    The Blue Jackets have done well. The Canucks have not.

  6. Leafs sign Marner to entry-level contract

    Jul 28, 2015, 12:34 PM EDT

    Mitchell Marner AP

    Probably looking at another year of junior hockey.

  7. Agent: Kruger ‘will be patient’ with Chicago’s cap situation

    Jul 28, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Marcus Kruger Getty Images

    25-year-old didn’t file for arbitration, hoping instead to sign a long-term contract.

  8. Report: Antropov mulling NHL return

    Jul 27, 2015, 9:29 PM EDT

    Nik Antropov Getty Images

    But are any teams mulling his return?

  9. Mayers returning to ‘Hawks in front office role

    Jul 27, 2015, 8:21 PM EDT

    jamalmayersgetty Getty Images

    Where he’ll work as a community liaison.

  10. ‘I don’t want to play in the AHL next year,’ says Detroit’s Callahan

    Jul 27, 2015, 6:21 PM EDT

    MitchCallahan Getty Images

    24-year-old forward would require waivers to be sent down…

  11. Still unsigned, Briere contemplating retirement

    Jul 27, 2015, 5:22 PM EDT

    Vancouver Canucks v Colorado Avalanche Vancouver Canucks v Colorado Avalanche

    “I’ll have to start thinking about it more and more in the next couple of weeks.”

  12. Avs ink former first-rounder Hishon to one-year deal

    Jul 27, 2015, 3:26 PM EDT

    Hishon2 Getty Images

    Looking to become a full-time NHLer after suffering a series of injuries at the start his pro career.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Holtby (2790)
  2. G. Bettman (2428)
  3. A. Larsson (2320)
  4. D. Stepan (2115)
  5. C. Ehrhoff (1658)
  1. P. Datsyuk (1580)
  2. A. Semin (1574)
  3. R. Johansen (1536)
  4. C. Smith (1516)
  5. A. Anisimov (1497)