Nasty series predicted by STL Today

The last time the Blues and Los Angeles Kings met, on March 22, the score was 0-0 through overtime and had to be decided in a shootout.

[…]

What the upcoming Blues-Los Angeles Western Conference semifinal series might lack in scoring, […] the teams will make up in physicality. In [the season series], there were […] 231 hits, with the Kings holding a slight edge (121-110).

“LA plays nasty … they play real nasty,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “To a man, they play with an edge. They follow the coach’s orders and they finish all their checks. They don’t swing away on anything. They play with a level of commitment to physical play that’s going to be a challenge for any team. So we’re first up.”

[…]  “I think the more physical team is going to win,” Blues forward T.J. Oshie said. “Whoever plays the most physical the longest is going to get the job done.”

[…]

Backes said[,] “(LA) played hard [in round one] every shift and they’ve got four lines that are willing to invest in the game. […] [They’re] in your zone and on your defense and make you make plays before you want to. [That creates] mistakes and offensive turnovers and transition. We just need to […] get through their checking and know that you’re going to get hit. […][You’ve] got to keep going and not retaliate.

[…] “[When] they’re making a push and hitting us we’ve got to fight through that, concentrate on […] winning the game and the score, not necessarily the chess battle and who’s tougher and who’s stronger at the moment. […]”

Like the Blues, however, LA is more than just a physical team. The clubs finished Nos. 1-2 in the NHL in goals-against average during the regular season, with the Blues (1.89) edging the Kings (2.07). They are tied for the best GAA in the playoffs (1.60).

In three regular-season appearances, LA goalie Jonathan Quick had two shutouts against the Blues, allowing one goal on 95 shots for 0.33 GAA and .989 save percentage.

“He’s very good […]” said Blues forward Patrik Berglund […]. “We’re going to [have to] be in the way, so he can’t see the puck.”

Brian Elliott, who is 3-0 in the playoffs, will stay in net for the Blues. […] Elliott’s numbers against LA are as eye-popping as Quick’s. In two appearances, he was 0-0-1 with a 0.71 GAA and .977 save percentage.

[…] Hitchcock pointed out that the Blues might have a slight advantage in that they have a few new names in their lineup. Andy McDonald […] has not faced the Kings this season because of his concussion. David Perron and Alex Steen, for the same reason, have played in only two of the games.

“We’ve got a team that they’ve never seen before,” Hitchcock said. “They have three lines exactly the same and we have all four different than the one that played (March 22), so I don’t think they really know our hockey club until they play against us.[…]

“Someone tweeted that it’s going to be the first game that’s 0 to minus-1 … that’s pretty creative,” Backes said. “We like those types of games, that’s our style. (But) we’ve got to be prepared. They took out the No. 1 seed and they’ve definitely got the firepower to keep on trucking in this thing.”

 

  3 comments for “Nasty series predicted by STL Today

  1. sstephen17
    April 24, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    The playoffs have been unpredictable so I wouldn’t be shocked if none of the games ends 1-0.  Not saying it will remind anyone of the Flyers/Pens but I think there might be a few 2-1, 3-2 type of games.  I think the Kings will take it in six.

  2. April 24, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    I think this series goes all 7. Just hope Kings win that 7th game.

  3. DougS
    April 25, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Hitchcock couldn’t possibly be trying to signal the refs by using the word “nasty,” could he? Nawww…..

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