After a becoming only the fourth team in NHL history to win a series after falling behind 3-0, the Los Angeles Kings are gearing up for another series against a division opponent, the Anaheim Ducks.
This will be the first time that we will see the Freeway Faceoff in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The series should come down to whether or not the Kings can make the Ducks play their game. Similar to the first-round series against the San Jose Sharks, if the Kings find themselves getting into shoot outs they will not win.
The Ducks were the second best offensive team, behind the Chicago Blackhawks, in the NHL this season and they are quite frankly a better offensive team than the Kings. The Ducks scored 266 goals on the season and Chicago 267.
Though the Ducks have two main scorers: Ryan Getzlaf with 87 points (31 G, 56 A) and Corey Perry with 82 points (43 G, 39 A), they are dangerous from their top line to the bottom line.
The emergence of guys like Nick Bonino with 49 points (22 G, 27 A), and Andrew Cogliano with 42 points (21 G, 21 A0 gives the Ducks much more depth on the offensive side and shows how dangerous they can be.
For the Kings to hang with the Ducks offensively, they will need big performances from just about everybody. Anze Kopitar put up 10 points (4 G, 6 A) for the team in the first round and will be asked to turn in a similar performance.
Justin Williams stepped up offensively and added four goals in the series. Even though Jeff Carter put up six points, he only had two goals and will need to step up much more. Tyler Toffoli was the huge factor for the Kings with five points in the series, and if he can match that, the Kings should be in a good position.
Also much like the series against the Sharks, the Kings will enjoy a significant defensive and goaltending advantage.
Even though their overall team defensive stats in the first round were not that impressive, the Kings gave up 17 goals in the first three games of the series. With their backs against the wall, down 3-0, the Kings rebounded and only gave up five goals the remaining four games.
Even though the defense did play very loose over the first three games, the fact that Jonathan Quick let 16 shots in over a three-game span is mind-boggling.
Over those games Quick faced 108 shots, leaving him with a save percentage of .852. In games 4-7 he still faced 135 shots but only allowed five goals, leaving him with a save percentage of .963. If the Quick who showed up for games four through seven shows up against Anaheim, the Kings have a solid shot at winning.
If all of the Kings players mentioned above have good offensive series and Mike Richards and Dustin Brown can pick up their productivity, the Kings should be able to take this series with relative ease.
Outside of Jonathan Quick, the big factor defensively is keeping up a fast-paced, aggressive forecheck.
Prediction: The Kings take this one in six games.