A year removed from their unfathomable run to the Stanley Cup, the Los Angeles Kings are already coming out of the gate swinging. Defenseman Slava Voynov already has three goals this postseason (along with a plus/minus rating of 7), as does center Jeff Carter. Goaltender Jonathan Quick already has two shutouts in the 2013 playoffs and is 5-2 this postseason. The reigning Conn Smythe winner also has a GAA of 1.36 and a save percentage of .953. In fact, he shut out the Sharks in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. So will the Kings return to their thrones in June?
You can't deny that the Chicago Blackhawks are the most complete team on paper. Yes, the Pittsburgh Penguins have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jerome Iginla (who have 32 combined points, by the way). The Penguins have also been carried by goalie Tomas Vokoun. But you also have the grit and guts of the Boston Bruins, who have four players in the top five of the plus/minus rating during the playoffs. The Rangers are riding the hot stick of Derick Brassard and his nine points right now as well. Don't forget about the Sharks and their balanced scoring attack from Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau, and Joe Thornton. And And the Wings? Well, they always play tough.
The point is this: We're in for some exciting playoff hockey. Can the Kings get back on top of the hockey world? Or will they be tripped up on their way? At this rate, it seems like the Kings' only competition consists of the Penguins and the Blackhawks. But anything can happen in the NHL playoffs. That's why you should tune in.