NHL playoff previews
The Kings, Wild and New York Rangers needed a Game 7 to win their respective first-round series, and Minnesota had to go to overtime.
Will the drama continue in the conference semifinals?
(Round 1: defeated Dallas, 4-2)
vs. 3. KINGS
(Round 1; defeated San Jose, 4-3)
Playoff power play: Ducks 26.9% (fourth); Kings 25% (sixth).
Playoff penalty killing: Ducks 89.7% (fourth); Kings 87.5% (sixth).
Leading scorers: Ducks, Ryan Getzlaf 3-4—7; Kings, Anze Kopitar 4-6—10.
Outlook: The Ducks will have to decide whether to start goaltender Frederik Andersen, who was pulled in two games versus Dallas, or Jonas Hiller, who got the series-clinching win in relief. Their power play was effective against Dallas but the Kings’ penalty killing is formidable. The Ducks’ four-line depth will challenge the Kings, who might be without Willie Mitchell. Jonathan Quick’s save percentage against San Jose rose to .914 as the defense tightened.
Pick: Go with the team that has the better goalie. Kings in seven.
Game 1: Saturday at Ducks, 5
Game 2: Monday at Ducks, 7
Game 3: Thursday at Kings, 7
Game 4: May 10 at Kings, TBA
Game 5*: May 12 at Ducks, TBA
Game 6*: May 14 at Kings, TBA
Game 7*: May 16 at Ducks, TBA
(Round 1: defeated St. Louis, 4-2)
vs. 4. MINNESOTA
(Round 1: defeated Colorado, 4-3)
Playoff power play: Blackhawks 15% (ninth); Wild 14.3% (10th).
Playoff penalty killing: Blackhawks 93.1% (first); Wild 88% (fifth).
Leading scorers: Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews 3-4—7; Wild, Zach Parise 3-7—10.
Outlook: The defending champion Blackhawks were fortunate to encounter a battered Blues team in first round. In the process, goalie Corey Crawford (1.98, .935) further dispelled his image as the team’s weakest link, and the big guns — Toews and Patrick Kane (three goals, six points) — looked good Duncan Keith showed why he’s a finalist for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman. Minnesota overcame an injury to goalie Darcy Kuemper to get past Colorado, helped by a goal and three points from a reborn Dany Heatley. But can goalie Ilya Bryzgalov win a series if he has to?
Pick: Blackhawks in six.
Game 1: Tonight, 6:30
Game 2: Sunday at Chicago, noon
Game 3: Tuesday at Minnesota, 6 p.m.
Game 4: May 9 at Minnesota, TBA
Game 5*: May 11 at Chicago, TBA
Game 6*: May 13 at Minnesota, TBA
Game 7*: May 15 at Chicago, TBA
(Round 1: defeated Columbus, 4-2)
vs. 2. N.Y. RANGERS
(Round 1: defeated Philadelphia, 4-3)
Playoff power play: Penguins 20.7% (seventh); Rangers 10.3% (14th).
Playoff penalty killing: Penguins 74.1% (12th); Rangers 71.4% (15th).
Leading scorers: Penguins, Matt Niskanen 2-6—8; Rangers, Martin St. Louis 2-4—6.
Outlook: The Penguins eliminated Columbus without a goal from scoring champion Sidney Crosby. Center Brandon Sutter (three goals, five points) stepped up, as did Niskanen. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury fluctuated between superb and shaky. Rangers are gritty but were lowest-scoring team among first-round survivors, at 2.71 per game. Henrik Lundqvist (2.11, .919) is the better goalie in the series.
Pick: Tough call, but look for Alain Vigneault to outcoach Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma. Rangers in seven.
Game 1: Tonight at Pittsburgh, 4
Game 2: Sunday at Pittsburgh, 4:30
Game 3: Monday at New York, 4:30
Game 4: Wednesday at New York, 4:30
Game 5*: May 9 at Pittsburgh, TBA
Game 6*: May 11 at New York, TBA
Game 7*: May 13 at Pittsburgh, TBA
*If necessary; times p.m. and PDT
Elliott correctly picked seven of the eight winners in the first round of the playoffs, including four by the exact number of games.
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.