The top seed left standing in the Western Conference, the No. 2 St. Louis Blues are going to start their series off against the No. 8 Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, April 28th in what should be a remarkable first game of what could be a great series.
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The Kings only won 40 games in the regular season, but they have proven here in the playoffs that they are for real and shouldn’t be messed with. They are a lot better playoff team than a regular season team, and if the offense can figure out how to keep scratching out two or three goals in these playoff games, Jonathan Quick is going to do the rest. Quick would almost certainly be the Vezina Trophy winner this year if he had a better team in front of him, as a 1.95 GAA is just out of this world. Thus far in the playoffs, Quick has a 4-1 record and a 1.59 GAA. Dustin Brown is paying tremendous dividends with his four goals and an assist thus far in five playoff games, while both Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar have four points as well. Mike Richards, another former member of the Philadelphia Flyers, has a goal and two assists, while Jeff Carter has a pair of helpers. Needless to say, if these players are all coming up big offensively, there is no reason for the Kings to panic, knowing that Quick has the stuff to win in the postseason.
Head Coach Ken Hitchcock knows what it takes to win a Stanley Cup, and that’s a great thing considering the fact that his team just won a playoff series for the first time in a decade last week. The Blues have played remarkable defense all season long, and they basically put on the equivalent of the full-court press for basically the full 60 minutes (or whatever is necessary). This is clearly the best fore-checking team in the game, and that is why there is a lot less pressure on the likes of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. Elliott went a perfect 3-0 in the first round of the playoffs after Halak went down with an injury. Both men have sub-2.00 GAAs here in the postseason, and both had a hand in the Game 2 shutout. Offensively, the team has been a real surprise this year. Chris Stewart hasn’t been on the board, and David Backes has just one goal to his credit, but Andy McDonald and Patrik Berglund have been remarkable. Those two have seven goals and eight assists between them thus far in the five playoff games against the San Jose Sharks.
Los Angeles Kings @ St. Louis Blues Pick: We are a bit puzzled by the fact that the ‘total’ for Game 1 is more or less just hanging around the 5 range. We just don’t see how there will be six goals scored in a 60 minute period in this series, and that being said, we have to trust the Elliott and Quick will keep this one beneath the total.
Free Hockey Pick: Los Angeles/St. Louis Under 5
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.