The Los Angeles
Kings Can Win Because…
Momentum is on their side. The Kings struggled to start the postseason but have been a different team since they fell behind 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks. They’ve won eight of their last 11 games and have been a completely different team. They’ve allowed 20 goals in those 11 contests while scoring 37 themselves. If they can keep up their high level of play at both ends of the ice, they’ll be in great shape.
They have the better defense and goaltending. That usually trumps a good offense. Combined with the fact that they were an excellent road team this season (23-18), they’ll have a good shot to upset the Blackhawks on the road in Game 1.
The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
They have the Kings number. They’ve now won seven of the last eight meetings between the teams and they don’t have too many problems scoring on the Kings. While the Kings had the best goals-against average in the NHL this season at 2.05 goals per game, the Blackhawks have averaged 2.9 goals per game against them in the last eight meetings.
Los Angeles had a couple of gimmes in the first two rounds, facing teams with goaltender issues. The Blackhawks have no such problems and that’ll be evident in Game 1. Look for the Blackhawks to take an early series lead.
Outlook & Pick
This is a tough spot for the Kings. They’re coming off their second consecutive seven-game series while the Blackhawks have been resting since Tuesday. They’ll have more pep in their step and they’ll take Game 1.
Pick: Blackhawks at TheGreek