Stanley Cup Playoffs Round One Preview: Blues Vs. Kings

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

This probably wasn't the matchup most Blues fans were looking for, but hey - let's make the best of what we have. This is going to be a tough one, so buckle up for a rough ride - and a fun series.

The Blues and the Kings don't get along well. Honestly, the Kings probably love the Blues, since they beat them every time they see them, and that has to be the reason that the Blues don't care for the Kings.

That, and the Kings' amazing ability to board our top players and not get penalized for it. Or maybe that's one King's ability in particular, eh Dwight?

That being said, the running of one player does not break a playoff series, and it doesn't have anything to do with the regular season either. The Kings swept the Blues this year in the regular season, the last win coming on March 28th. Since that date, the Blues have only lost three times, having one of the best months in recent memory. This isn't the same team that the Kings swept. This one has an absurdly stingy defense that has allowed six goals in the last six home games. As Ken Hitchcock told ESPN.com, "Los Angeles hasn't seen our team. I don't think anyone really knows our team right now."

The Blues are gonna be all stealth in round one, taking opponents by surprise. Who does that sound like? Why, last season's Stanley Cup Champion Kings. I'm not saying that the Blues are winning the Cup. What I am saying is that they've played tremendous hockey as of late, and have utilized their trade deadline signings for maximum effect. This won't be the cakewalk for the Kings like it was last season.

It is also very helpful that Brian Elliott, the starter for the first round, is healthy. His inner ear infection threw off his equilibrium last post-season, but it also threw off the balance of the entire team. He's playing better hockey now than he did at any point last season, which is saying something since that year was a career year.

The Kings are a very good team who have looked tired of late, and if there's a team that can wear them down more, it's the Blues. Both teams are physical, and their American captains love to live on the edge. We'll be complaining a lot about Dustin Brown this series, and I'm sure that they'll be up in arms about David Backes on a daily basis.

Barret Jackman and T.J. Oshie are back for round one. The Blues will have firepower and defense, and so will the Kings. This is going to be one of the toughest and most evenly matched first round series of this season's playoffs, and it should be fun to watch. It's a shame one of the two teams has to go home when all is said and done. I hope that it won't be ours.

Twitter folks, for round one, you might want to follow @theroyalhalf, @JFTC_Kings, and @BattleofCali for insights into how the other side lives. Those last two are the accounts for fellow SB Nation blogs Jewels From The Crown and Battle Of California. The Royal Half is my buddy from the Bloguin network.

Is this win do-able? Sure. Will it be easy? Hell no. Get ready for an enjoyable first round series.

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