Chicago Blackhawks vs. Kings
How they got here: Chicago defeated St. Louis in six games and Minnesota in six games; the Kings defeated San Jose in seven games and the Ducks in seven games.
Playoff power play: Blackhawks: 18.2% (eighth); Kings 22.9% (seventh).
Playoff penalty killing: Blackhawks 91.3% (first); Kings 83.9% (eighth).
Leading scorers: Blackhawks — Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook each at 2 goals, 9 assists — 11 points; Kings — Anze Kopitar 5-14 — 19.
Outlook: This is a rematch of last season's West finals, which the Blackhawks won in five games over the banged-up Kings. Both teams had first-round scares this season: the Blackhawks lost their first two games against St. Louis before winning the next four, and the Kings lost their first three to San Jose before becoming the fourth NHL team to erase a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series. The Kings also trailed the Ducks, 3-2, in the second round. The Blackhawks, who led the NHL with 266 goals this season, are the top defensive team in the playoffs thanks to goaltender Corey Crawford (playoff-best 1.97 goals-against, second-best .931 save percentage). The Kings, one of the NHL's lowest-scoring teams, rank second in goals per game at 3.21. The top playoff scorers through Friday were Kopitar — who has points in 13 of 14 games — and winger Marian Gaborik (nine goals, 15 points). Right wing Patrick Kane and left wing Bryan Bickell share the Blackhawks goal-scoring lead with six each, and the team's speed could pose a problem for the Kings' defense, which still lacks the injured Willie Mitchell and Robyn Regehr. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (2.72, .914) has been superb in six elimination games this spring.
Prediction: As good as Crawford has been, Quick is still better. Kings in seven.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times