The Los Angeles
Kings Can Win Because…
They have the better goaltending and they are the better road team. In the playoffs, that’s what matter.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and the Kings defense have already proven that they can shut down elite offenses. They handled the Ducks, who had the best offense in the NHL, and they stymied the Sharks, who were sixth. The Kings allowed just 2.05 goals per game this season, which led the NHL, and as we all know, a good defense can beat a good offense.
The Kings are also a very good road team as they’ve already gone on the road twice this postseason to win Game 7’s. They were 23-14-4 on the road in the regular season, which was sixth-best in the NHL. They’re 5-3 on the road this postseason, so not having home-ice advantage isn’t a problem for them. Take them with your NHL picks.
The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
The Kings are going to run out of gas. The Kings had trouble with the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks in the first two rounds of the playoffs. In both cases, they needed to go seven games just to survive. Those teams have defensive flaws and shaky goaltending. As for the Blackhawks, they are not only stronger in that category but they also have a lethal offense. The Kings will also be worn down after playing the full 14 games in the first two rounds. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks have been off and resting since Tuesday. To have that type of break in the playoffs is huge.
The Kings may have the better goaltender but they haven’t looked together in the playoffs. At times, they looked great, such as when they dug out of a big 3-0 hole against San Jose and how they ousted Anaheim. At other times, they’ve had serious trouble scoring and have looked average between the pipes. It’s hard to believe they’ve given up 2.69 goals per game this postseason, which is noticeably worse than the Blackhawks, who are at 2.25.
Chicago is not only the fresher team, they’re the better team. Take them.
Outlook & Pick
Defense usually trumps offense but it won’t in this case. Los Angeles only survived to this point because their previous foes, the Ducks and Sharks, had serious goaltending flaws. As for the Blackhawks, they have no such issues. That’ll be the difference as to why the Blackhawks advance.
Pick: Blackhawks in 6 at TheGreek