(La Roux's "Bulletproof")
First round matchup: Vancouver Canucks
The LA Kings make their first appearance after 6 missed playoffs. But will they be making an early exit from the post-season? Or will they show that their youthful energy can keep them going to the very end?
The Kings are one of the youngest teams in the league. But just because they were young didn't stop any of them from showing the NHL that they can play with the big boys.
One of their brightest youngsters is defenceman Drew Doughty. Doughty has lit up the stage with his brilliance in his sophmore season. He has the greatest on-ice intelligence I have seen from a sophmore this season! He has a brilliant two-way game! Doughty gets involved in the offence if it seems like he can, but he doesn't forget about his defensive duties. And he does his duties brilliantly with style and grace only a hockey player can achieve.
Then there is the emergence of an Anze Kopitar. For a moment, Kopitar lead the league in goals and in points, but that took a turn after he was shut down for a few games. What Kopitar needs to do is establish a confidence that will keep him going until the end of his playoff run.
Finally, there is the veteran presence of a Ryan Smyth. Smyth is a great forward and has found a comfortable place in LA with the young kids. There isn't a doubt that these forwards and defencemen will play well for the playoffs, but it boils down to the one that can seal the deal. The goalie.
Jonathan Quick appears to be the starter for the Kings of Hollywood. Quick has never made it to the playoffs before, and this season, he was frozen at 39 wins. Mr Quick isn't exactly the most elite of goalies and many haven't ever seen him without a mask! He has the 31st best save percentage in the NHL. That's only a little better than Marc-Andre Fleury.
Quick can easily be blown out of the waters and sent packing early if the latter part of his season shows anything. And it doesn't help that he's up against Roberto Luongo and his team. But if Quick isn't the one, who could the Kings turn to? They could always turn to their other Jonathan, Jonathan Bernier. Bernier made just a few appearances this season, but those resulted in some great games! He's had success in the AHL, the Juniors, and the world stage, could he do the same in the NHL? I'd like to see Bernier make his mark, but it may be too early to bring him out.
Quick has to sharpen his game and become as quick as his name before planning to go past 4 games with the Canucks.