2012 Western Conference Semi-Finals + Daily Score Updates

(2) ST. LOUIS BLUES

VS.

(8) LOS ANGELES KINGS

Los Angeles leads series 1-0

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SCHEDULE:

Game #

Road Team

Home Team

Date

Start Time (Eastern, PM)

TV Channels

Final Score

1

Los Angeles

St. Louis

Saturday, April 28

7:30

NBCSN, TSN, RDS

LA wins 3-1, FINAL

2

Los Angeles

St. Louis

Monday, April 30

9:00

CNBC, TSN, RDSI

N/A

3

St. Louis

Los Angeles

Thursday, May 3

10:00

NBCSN, TSN, RDS

N/A

4

St. Louis

Los Angeles

Sunday, May 6

3:00

NBC, TSN, RDS

N/A

5*

Los Angeles

St. Louis

Tuesday, May 8

N/A

CNBC, TSN, RDSI

N/A

6*

St. Louis

Los Angeles

Thursday, May 10

N/A

TSN, RDS

N/A

7*

Los Angeles

St. Louis

Saturday, May 12

N/A

TSN, RDS

N/A

*- If necessary

SEASON SERIES:

Los Angeles won season series 3-1-0

OFFENSIVE STAT LEADERS:

Stat

St. Louis

Los Angeles

Goals

4- Andy McDonald

4- Dustin Brown

Assists

4- Andy McDonald, Patrik Berglund

4- Justin Williams

Points

8- Andy McDonald

5- Dustin Brown

Plus-Minus

+4- Patrik Berglund

+4- Dustin Brown

GOALTENDING MATCHUP:

Player

Record (Wins-Losses-Overtime Losses)

Goals Against Average

Save Percentage

Shutouts

Brian Elliott (St. Louis)

3-0-0

1.37

.949

1

Jaroslav Halak (St. Louis)

1-0-1

1.73

.935

0

Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles)

4-1-0

1.59

.953

1

Jonathan Quick knows that he will have to match Brian Elliott if the Kings want to pull off another upset.
PHOTO CREDITS: Rich Lam/Getty Images

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

St. Louis (4-1 over San Jose in round 1): Despite the 4-1 series victory, the Sharks actually gave the Blues some pretty good competition.  The Sharks took their only game of the series in game 1, courtesy of Martin Havlat in double OT.  Jaroslav Halak went down to an injury in game 2, but luckily for the Blues their “backup” netminder is no slouch either.  Brian Elliott was steady in relief of Halak, and never looked back.  Andy McDonald and Patrik Berglund led the attack for the Blues, as they combined for 7 goals and 15 assists.  A potent special teams (33.3% PP, 88.2% PK) also contributed to a quick series victory over the San Jose Sharks.

The Blues hope Patrik Berglund can continue his scoring ways against the Kings.
PHOTO CREDITS: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Los Angeles (4-1 over Vancouver in round 1): The Kings shocked the entire league by downing the two-time President’s Trophy winners in rather convincing fashion.  The Kings would stun the Canucks by taking the first two games, which would spell the end of Roberto Luongo as Cory Schneider would go on to start the next three games.  In game 3, all it took was one bad rebound, as Dustin Brown’s goal third-period goal would hold up as the game-winner to put the Canucks on the verge of elimination.  Vancouver found themselves down once again in game 4, but the return of Daniel Sedin helped the Canucks comeback en route to a 3-1 victory.  Game 5 went into overtime, where a Hamhuis turnover led to a 2-on-1 rush, finished off by Jarret Stoll as “David” slayed “Goliath.”

ANALYSIS:

Caniacwiz:

St. Louis in 6.  I definitely think that the Blues are the better team, but there’s something about the Kings (especially Jonathan Quick) that has me thinking that they will steal a couple of games.  It will definitely be a low-scoring series, but the Blues have clearly bought into Ken Hitchcock’s system, and there’s no looking back.  The Blues forwards are more consistent, and their defensemen are no slouches either.  Where the two teams are quite different, however, is special teams.  If the Kings are to have any say as to who advances, they will need to improve on their powerplay, which only operated at 11.5%.  Allowing 34.4 shot per game is also a recipe of disaster, no matter how good your goaltender is.  In the end, Brian Elliott will get the better of Jonathan Quick, and the Blues will move one step closer towards the holy grail of hockey.

The News of Sports:

The Los Angeles Kings might be playing the best they’ve ever had, “upsetting” the Vancouver Canucks 4 games to 1 in what might have been the most expected upset in recent years. Jonathan Quick was, for a lack of a better word, quick between the pipes, and Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Co. were dominant, putting away the best regular season team with relative ease. If the Kings are going to continue their great play against a fantastic Blues team, Quick will have to continue putting up 35+ saves per night, and have his teammates put up numbers against either Jaroslav Halak or his more than capable replacement, Brian Elliot. Elliot was brilliant in relief for the injured Halak, who missed most of the first round series. It’ll be interesting to see who ends up starting more games in this series.

The Blues scored the goals that really counted and blew out the San Jose Sharks 4 games to 1 in their opening round series. The Blues were led by Elliot and won the final four games of the season after Patrik Berglund and others were stellar on offense to back up Elliot’s solid goaltending. Andy McDonald was huge as well, putting up 8 points in the series. If the Blues are going to win, which I think they will, Elliot/Halak as well as the blueliners will need to be big against a red-hot Kings offense, and also score some goals too against Quick. This could be a very, very interesting series.

My pick: Blues in 6 games

Alex Pietrangelo could be the X-Factor for the Blues.
PHOTO CREDITS: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(3) PHOENIX COYOTES

VS.

(4) NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Phoenix leads series 1-0

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SCHEDULE:

Game #

Road Team

Home Team

Date

Start Time (Eastern, PM)

TV Channels

Final Score

1

Nashville

Phoenix

Friday, April 27

9:00

NBCSN, TSN, RDS

PHX wins 4-3 in 1st OT

2

Nashville

Phoenix

Sunday, April 29

8:00

NBCSN, TSN, RDS

N/A

3

Phoenix

Nashville

Wednesday, May 2

9:00

CNBC, TSN, RDSI

N/A

4

Phoenix

Nashville

Friday, May 4

7:30

NBCSN, TSN, RDS

N/A

5*

Nashville

Phoenix

Monday, May 7

10:00

NBCSN, TSN, RDS

N/A

6*

Phoenix

Nashville

Wednesday, May 9

N/A

TSN, RDSI

N/A

7*

Nashville

Phoenix

Friday, May 11

N/A

TSN, RDS

N/A

*- If necessary

SEASON SERIES:

Phoenix won season series 2-1-1

OFFENSIVE STAT LEADERS:

Stat

Phoenix

Nashville

Goals

4- Antoine Vermette

3- Gabriel Bourque

Assists

5- Keith Yandle

4- Alexander Radulov

Points

5- Antoine Vermette, Keith Yandle

5- Alexander Radulov

Plus-Minus

+5- Keith Yandle

+6- Francis Bouillon

GOALTENDING MATCHUP:

Player

Record (Wins-Losses-Overtime Losses)

Goals Against Average

Save Percentage

Shutouts

Mike Smith (Phoenix)

4-0-2

1.81

.950

1

Pekka Rinne (Nashville)

4-1-0

1.81

.944

0

Mike Smith wowed hockey fans with his spectacular goaltending performance in round 1.
PHOTO CREDITS: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Phoenix (4-2 over Chicago in round 1):It only took six games, with the first five going into overtime, but Phoenix finally won its first playoff series in franchise history since 1987.  The teams split their first two games in Phoenix, before Mikkel Boedker scores back-to-back OT winners in games 3 and 4 to give the Coyotes a commanding 3-1 series lead.  The Coyotes were under two minutes from eliminating the ‘Hawks in game 5, but a common trend in the series occurred once again as they allowed Chicago to tie it up late, setting up OT heroics by captain Jonathan Toews.  Phoenix would step up their game in game 6, however, completely shutting down the Chicago offense en route to a 4-0 shutout victory, silencing the home crowd at the United Center and punching their ticket into the second round.

Nashville (4-1 over Detroit in round 1): With four of the five games being one-goal games, it certainly wasn’t as easy as it looked for the Preds.  Controversy swirled after Shea Weber’s WWE-esque move late in game 1, which gave the Red Wings energy as they would earn a split in Nashville after taking game 2.  Home ice wasn’t as sweet for Detroit, however, as Nashville’s defensive game frustrated them to no ends, limiting them to just three goals in games 3 and 4 combined.  They would go on to close out the series in game 5, as David Legwand’s third period goal 13 seconds in would end up being the game-winner, and the final nail in the coffin for the Red Wings.

Kevin Klein was the unsung hero for the Predators, scoring two important goals in the series.
PHOTO CREDITS: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

ANALYSIS:

Caniacwiz:

Nashville in 6.  Sorry Phoenix fans, but the Cinderella story ends here.  While many consider their victory over the ‘Hawks an “upset,” I tend to disagree.  Regardless, this series will feature superb goaltending, much like the Blues/King series.  However, I do give the edge to the Predators simply because of their depth.  Of course, for the Coyotes, missing Raffi Torres to a 25-game suspension hurts their own depth.  If Hal Gill can make it back for the start of this series, the Coyotes will find goals even harder to come by, especially if their leading scorers (Ray Whitney, Shane Doan, etc.) do not step up after going relatively quiet against Chicago.  Like the Kings, the Coyotes will need to find a way to start blocking some shots after allowing 40 shots per game against Chicago.  Sure, Mike Smith played out of his mind, but Nashville is a better team, and will make them pay if the ‘Yotes continue to give them chances.

The News of Sports:

The Coyotes beat the Blackhawks in their opening round series 4 games to 2, but it was much closer than that. Time and time again, the Coyotes managed to eke out wins in overtime, and Mike Smith was excellent in the battle of the goaltenders. To be honest, it was more like Corey Crawford lost that battle than Smith won it. However, the Coyotes have to be very pleased that they’re here in the second round. If Shane Doan, Ray Whitney, and others can start scoring more, and in regulation time, not only overtime, as well as Smith continuing to stop the puck from going in the net.

The Predators hammered the experienced Red Wings in only 5 games, absolutely demolishing Mike Babcock’s team both at home and on the road. Their all-star defense frustrated Detroit to no end. However, the series was closer than the stats say; 80% of the games ended up with a one-goal win. The Preds will need Alexander Radulov to continue playing well if they want to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

My pick: Nashville in 6 games

Alexander Radulov will be a big part of the Preds’ success should they have their way against the Coyotes.
PHOTO CREDITS: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

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4 Responses to 2012 Western Conference Semi-Finals + Daily Score Updates

  1. jaysjems1141 says:

    What an in-depth rundown. I really like the setup of this post. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks! I’m glad I teamed up with Eddie, he did a fantastic job with the format and our analysis really added to it, I think. Sorry that the charts are stretching out into my sidebar, I’m trying to figure out why it’s doing that.

  2. Great breakdown, Nik! It’s unbelievable to me to think that the Kings may very well come out of the West. After mutilating Vancouver, St. Louis sould be easy pickings.

  3. Go Blues! You need to take game 2!

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