Jeff Gross/Getty Images
(L-R) Goaltender Jonathan Quick #32, Drew Doughty #8 and Slava Voynov #26 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrate their teams 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks in game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on May 28, 2013 in Los Angeles.
Tomorrow the Kings open their bid for a spot in the Stanley Cup final when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks on the road. Kings players will be energized by the idea of winning a second consecutive NHL title, but to write off the best-of-seven series with Chicago as a formality would be a huge mistake.
The Blackhawks are anything but pushovers. They are fast, defensively sound, the best transition team in the NHL, and their 25-year-old captain, Jonathan Toews is a force to be reckoned with. But Toews and company will have to figure out a way around Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who has earned an air of invincibility, and sitting in front of Quick is a defense tough to unlock. The Kings are coming off a game seven victory against the San Jose Sharks which could give them the belief, or fatigue could be an excuse if the fast-skating Blackhawks come out of the blocks at the fast pace they’ve become known for. Can the Kings repeat their Stanley Cup win of 2012?
Nicholas J. Cotsonika, NHL writer for Yahoo! Sports