The Western Conference semi finals between the Chicago Blackhawks, the Detroit Red Wings and the LA Kings-San Jose Sharks, both went to game seven finals, ultimately being won by the Kings and Hawks in the end to set up the Western Conference finals. The Western Conference has always been considered the tougher division and these teams proved everyone why it is a tough conference. The question now is who will win and go to the Stanley Cup finals?
The Blackhawks were first place in the entire league for the regular season, while the LA Kings of course are last years Stanley Cup champions. The Hawks did win the cup in 2010 and have many top players who were in those finals still in Chicago. This will be an exciting series to watch and for some players it could be a revenge and redemption. Remember whom the Blackhawks beat in 2010? They beat the Philadelphia Flyers and on that Flyers squad were Mike Richards and Jeff Carter who now play for the Kings. The two of them won a Cup last year, but I think beating the Hawks could be more motivation for the two. A little side note, the LA Kings are exactly what the Flyers wanted to be; big, tough, fast and could score with good goaltending. Philly screwed that up by trading away their two stars to make room for Ilya Bryzgalov and we all know how badly that went.
Anyway back to the main topic, this is a series I can see going all the way to game seven. The Hawks have one of the greatest forwards currently in the NHL in Jonothan Toews. Although he has had his bad games this post-season his is an all around top NHL forward. On LA side they have a great playoff performer in Dustin Brown a player who was almost traded away a few years ago, imagine that! Funny enough with these two teams they have scored a large amount of goals like the Penguins and even the Bruins.
The LA Kings have scored 25 goals so far this post season with only 18 goals against. On Chicago’s side they managed to score 31 goals with 21 goals against them, which is not that bad, both teams are almost even in scoring with Chicago with bit of an edge while the Kings have let the least amount of goals in. Defense and the Goalie always matter in hockey, but the way both teams have been playing it might come down to the goalies in the end and out of the two the better goalie is Jonothan Quick, even though Crawford’s numbers are close, I still say Quick has the upper hand and he is starting to get really hot in this post-season.
The Kings obviously have to watch out for the usual guys Marian Hossa, Jonothan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Patrick Sharp, but the Kings really need to watch out for Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik who have been scoring big goals these playoffs. The Hawks key guys to watch out for are Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams who are very important players in this playoff run, but do not ever count out Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Dustin Penner they have had their struggles, but are always dangerous on the ice.
What do both of these teams have in common? They have a lot of star power and are not afraid to use it, this series is a toss it can go either way and probably will go all the way to game seven. Since I picked a winner for the east I have to pick one for the west. I think it will be a close series, but I think the Kings will just beat out the Hawks 4-3. Frankly, who ever wins this series does not bother me, because no matter what happens it will be a great series, so lets all sit back and enjoy!
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