The beginning of the season has brought a few welcome surprises to the Western Conference. The Vegas Golden Knights appear to be actually good! Nearly every team in the Central Division is (as of now) pretty much equal! The Kings and the Blues are the two best teams in the conference!
Wait, what now?
I don’t think anyone will argue with the Blues’ start to this season (9-2-1 is pretty ok, right?), but the Kings’ 9-1-1 start has to be one of the most surprising things so far. Bolstered by a new coaching staff, the Kings look poised to leave last season’s fifth place Pacific Division finish (and 86 points) in the dust. Helpful in this endeavor is the fact that Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown are both playing excellent hockey. Re-energized by the new staff, Kopitar has seven goals and six assists on the year, while Brown has five goals and six assists. A healthy Jonathan Quick, whose absence was sorely felt at the start of last season, is putting up stellar numbers (1.76 GAA, .946 SV%).
The Kings have always been traditionally a tough nut for the Blues to crack. They may be a little tougher than usual this season.
The Blues should be icing the same line-up that won Saturday night’s game 4-1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. There’s no reason to change, especially now that the fourth line has started to click. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re not a major component to the Blues’ success again tonight, if that’s what’s in the cards.