Didn’t get a chance to post this last night, but here are my thoughts on the series. Game 1 had no effect on this post.
(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (8) Los Angeles Kings
After spending some time looking over the numbers and stats that these two teams put up over the course of the regular season, I realized that almost everything favours the Canucks.
Vancouver possesses the best offense in the Western Conference having scored 241 goals this season – an average of just under three per game. They were also one of the best teams at keeping the puck out of their own net, only allowing 191 goals against this season – or about 2.3 goals against per game, which was good for 4th best in the NHL. They penalty kill and power play ranked among the best in the league as the PP clicked at 19.8% (4th) and their PK sat at 86% (6th).
The only stat that the Kings held over the Canucks was goals against – only allowing 170 (2nd). Los Angeles was one of the stingiest teams this season playing in a league high 31 games where the total combine goals scored was three or less. The only problem was their scoring issues caused them to go 11-13-7 in those games. Their second ranked defense wasn’t helped out to much as the Kings posted the 29th best offense only scoring 188 goals.
The only way the Kings have a chance at beating the heavily favoured Canucks is if they can keep the games low scoring. Their offense – that has been almost non-existent throughout the season – will have to come through and hope that goaltender Jonathan Quick can shutdown the Vancouver offense.
I feel the biggest matchup in this series will be between the pipes. Luongo will get the start in net for Vancouver, but he will most likely be on a short leash. He had a great season posting a 31-14-8 record with a 2.41 GAA and a .919 SV%. Fans and media will be quick to get on him if he has a bad game or lets in a soft goal. This is because Cory Schneider could easily take over if necessary.
On the other side, Quick posted up Vezina-like numbers this season, going 35-21-13 with a 1.95 GAA and a .929 SV%. He didn’t get much help losing five games by a score of 1-0 and posting an 8-6-3 record in games where he only allowed one goal against. He allowed two goals or less in 46 of the 69 games (66%) he played this season.
The Kings have an unbelievable goalie. The question is whether or not their offense will be able to help him out and I don’t think it will.
Vancouver in 6 games