The Kings finished the season in the playoffs. We were 29th in scoring in the whole NHL and still ended up in the top eight. The keys to winning this series against the Vancouver Canucks are our offense and goaltending. I’m looking for Quick to stand on his head – again and as usual – as well as our offense to jump all over Luongo. We know from experience playing the Canucks that when we play a physical and fast game, we can get in Bobby Lou’s head and mess him up.
We’ve heard prediction after prediction from everyone to the top sports commentators to the guy at the water cooler. Vancouver has the heavy lead in the win department. But I wanted to look at the Kings and see why they could and should win. Vancouver is the top team in the west; the President Trophy winner. It’s not a fluke they are where they are now. Add in experience the team gained from making the cup finals last year and you now have the top team to beat.
Let’s talk about what we have going for us before the game tonight:
- Our offense has improved – After we acquired Jeff Carter from Columbus, the Kings looked more confident and assertive. We had holes in our lines that needed filling and Carter definitely filled one of them. Unfortunately Gagne was not able to finish this season and the other glaring spot was filled by our rookies. Whether it was Loktionov, Nolan or King, the rookies held their own and even contributed when needed the most.
- Our lines are working – Not a lot of teams can boast 4 good working lines. Somewhere along the end of the season, our lines meshed together and started to work. The top line of Brown-Kopitar-Williams led the scoring. The second line of King-Richards-Carter played hard and gave us the goals when we needed them the most. Richards has to be the best shorthanded goal scorer ever! Line 3 we were not sure of as the pieces were supposed to be in other lines. But something wonderful happened and the Penner – Stoll – Lewis line was born and produced. Who else has a wonderful line 4? Anyone? Well the Kings do. Clifford-Fraser-Nolan. Gritty and hard playing. The line you can count on.
- Size and Strength – We have heard this before. The Kings are big players who are talented. The offense can also defend and no one really does it better than Kopitar. Our defense is great and can keep pressure on to wear out the Canucks offense easily. And don’t forget, we have Mitchell on this side this playoff series.
# 23 Brown– # 11 Kopitar – # 14 Williams
# 74 King– # 10 Richards – # 77 Jeff Carter
# 25 Penner – # 28 Stoll – # 22 Lewis
# 13 Clifford– # 24 Fraser – # 71 Nolan
# 7 Scuderi – # 8 Doughty
# 33 Mitchell – # 26 Voynov
# 27 Martinez –# 22 Greene
# 32 Quick
# 45 Bernier
#21 Mason Raymond – #33 Henrik Sedin – #14 Alexandre Burrows
#40 Maxim Lapierre – #17 Ryan Kesler – #7 David Booth
#20 Chris Higgins – #26 Samuel Pahlsson – #36 Jannik Hansen
#27 Manny Malhotra – #25 Andrew Ebbett – #32 Dale Weise
#2 Dan Hamhuis – #3 Kevin Bieksa
#23 Alexander Edler – #6 Sami Salo
#29 Aaron Rome – #8 Christopher Tanev
#1 Roberto Luongo
#35 Cory Schneider