Here are my keys for a Kings win in this round:
1) Stick with the game plan
Part of the reason the Kings were successful against Vancouver was because they maintained their composure, had a lot of patience and didn't get frustrated. They will need that much patience and then some with the Blues, who play a defensive, grind-it-out style similar to the Kings. This series will be a war of attrition and it's going to take the full 7 games.
2) Steal a road win early
The Blues had one of the NHL's best home records during the regular season. Luckily the Kings have played well on the road through the season AND in the first round of the playoffs. Hitting the Blues at home will shake their confidence and it will give the Kings some momentum to bring back to the home crowd at Staples Center.
3) Scoring opportunities from all four lines
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock is big on match-ups, so if the Kings can find a way to get scoring chances coming from anywhere and everywhere, Hitch will keep guessing how to counter the offensive. It's time for our best players to be our best players and Kopitar, Carter, Richards and Williams all have an opportunity to step up and do more. I know it's a tall order given the Kings regular season history, we but we can't depend on Jarret Stoll to be clutch every series. And God knows I won't count on Penner to do it.
4) Rest when you can get it
This will be a LONG series and it's going to take a lot of energy. We have an Olympic caliber sleeper on this team named Jonathan Quick. Hopefully he'll be giving sleep clinics on off days.
5) The X-Factor: Daryl Sutter
Plenty of pundits are saying Dustin Penner is the X-factor for this series, but for me there is no bigger reason for the Kings playoff success than the man behind the bench. I have never seen this team as prepared and focused as it's been with Sutter at the helm. He is proof positive that there is a HUGE difference between leading and managing. Leaders motivate. Managers are technicians that move pieces around the board. Terry Murray was a great manager. Daryl Sutter is a leader.
The Kings are prepared. They are focused. They are ready. They LIVE for this. Only one question remains -- are YOU ready, Kings fans?
GO KINGS GO!