Drawing opponents becomes a crap-shoot when you get to the second round of the playoffs. Sure, you might have a better record against one team than another, or you might just feel better about your chances against a team. That’s well and good, but past the first round of the playoffs, it’s immaterial. Obviously, the Vancouver Canucks might’ve been the preferred opponent, at least with Roberto Luongo in net, but they’re gone now — dispatched in five games by the Los Angeles Kings.
The remaining four teams in the Western Conference (St. Louis, Los Angeles, the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Nashville Predators) all have goaltenders that could double as a brick wall in a pinch. They’re all now playoff tested, and only one — Phoenix — did the Blues have minimal issues with during the regular season.
The Blues won one game out of the four played against the Kings, a 1-0 win back on February 3rd. The rest of the games were generally low scoring, save for a 5-0 blowout loss back in October when the Blues were still coached by Davis Payne. Since then, they lost 3-2 at home against the Kings and 1-0 in a shootout on March 22nd.
Moral of that story? With Ken Hitchcock as the coach, don’t expect high scoring games. Between Brian Elliott for the Blues and Veznia candidate Jonathan Quick for the Kings, reallydon’t expect high scoring games. The Kings allowed eight goals in their five games against the Canucks, and shut them out once 1-0.
Dustin Brown is someone that the Blues’re going to need to contain. He has four goals and five points in five playoff games, but he also has 21 hits. If you think that the Blues are a rough and tumble team that can walk over the Kings, then you might have another thing coming. This will be a tough series, and there’s a very good possibility that it turns into a seven-game long goaltender death match. Brace yourselves.
For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis. For more in-depth coverage of this series, visit Blues blog St. Louis Game Time and Kings blog Jewels From The Crown. For additional coverage of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, visit SB Nation’s NHL news hub.