Chicago Blackhawks-L.A. Kings: Part Deux

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Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings meet again. Just like in 2013, the Hawks and Kings will play for the chance to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final.

Both teams faced stiff competition to get to this point. The Kings took out the top two seeds in the Pacific Division in Anaheim and San Jose. The Blackhawks beat everyone’s “darling” St. Louis Blues and a much improved Minnesota Wild club. L.A. may have taken the hard road to get this far, but it has aid dividends. In the six games L.A. has faced elimination in, they are 6-0.

The Hawks took out the Kings in five games last postseason. I have a hard time imagining that a healthier L.A. club goes out as easily this season. Jonathan Quick has had a less than perfect Stanley Cup Playoffs, but has been good to great in the team’s eight wins. Quick had a less than stellar series in 2013 against Chicago and will be one of, if not the most important player in the series for Los Angeles.

The Chicago Blackhawks will also be facing a team showing an ability to score. In L.A.’s 6-2 game seven win over Anaheim, scoring came from all four forward “lines.” Jeff Carter, Marian Gaborik, and Justin Williams have been forces so far. Chicago’s defense has the talent to contain them. Forcing a team’s bottom six to score instead of its stars is something most teams are willing to trade off.

Peter Regin has a chance to be the Chicago Blackhawks’ hidden gem of the series. His game six performance in Minnesota led to a power play for and the opportunity for Patrick Kane to score the series-clinching overtime winner. Regin is also a defensively responsible player. He can be trusted on the penalty kill and keeping the opponent’s offense at bay when stuck in the defensive zone.

Most fans may not be excited to see a rematch outside of the Los Angeles and Chicago markets. I had these two teams facing each other in the Western Conference Finals prior to the start of the season. It would be unfair to say repeating as Stanley Cup Champions is tough. The fact that the Chicago Blackhawks have made it back this far is a test to the team’s depth and talent. The Hawks are knocking in the door for the opportunity to defend their title against whoever the Eastern Conference throws at them.

Home ice has mattered in the postseason for Chicago. It will against the Los Angeles Kings, as well.

 Chicago Blackhawks in seven.

Jeff is a production assistant @120Sports and contributor to hockey, football, and baseball for The Sports Bank. Follow him on Twitter @skcih_ffej.

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