Blackhawks-Kings West Finals Preview
The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010. The Kings raised Lord Stanley in 2012 as the first 8-seed to do so. Now, these two teams will face-off in the Western Conference Finals for the right to play for the Cup again. Here is a series preview.Why the Blackhawks will win: Got through the tough series. Chicago was down 3-1 to rival Detroit but found a way to win three straight in the semifinals and move on. Sometimes, when a team in sports gets through that tough series filled with adversity, it goes on a roll from there. It can work the other way too, as the team can fatigue or run into a tough match-up, but that situation is more unlikely in hockey.
Why the Kings will win: They play every style. Up and down, stout defense, lock down defense with a lead, specials teams dominance, finesse or physical. The ultimate combination of East and West hockey.
Key Blackhawk: Corey Crawford. The Hawks goaltender has been the most underrated goalie in the playoffs. He plays side to side and is excellent at covering rebounds. Crawford has been what Antti Niemi was for Chicago during the 2010 Cup run.
Key King: Jonathan Quick. The best goalie in the league, period. Quick continues to dazzle and carry Los Angeles. Above every part of the Kings’ success, the team rallies around Quick when he is on. And when he is on, this team cannot be stopped because everything flows off his brilliant play between the pipes.
Prediction: Kings in 6. This is the most complete team in hockey.
By: Mike Lindsley, “Mid-Day with Mike,” 1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio. Follow him on Twitter @MikeLSports.