3 Teams Best Suited to Beat Chicago and/or LA

One of the shining moments of every series is when the goalies meet in the line (Scott Stewart-USA TODAY Sports)
One of the shining moments of every series is when the goalies meet in the line (Scott Stewart-USA TODAY Sports)

Best of the Best

The Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings have accounted for four out of the last five Stanley Cup championships. They are without a doubt the class of the National Hockey League. Don’t think for a second that the Kings currently being on the outside looking in at a playoff spot changes that. They don’t get referred to as the cockroaches of the NHL for nothing. Los Angeles has come up with just the lone point in their last 12 overtime games. Even if they had won just four of those 12 games, they would be in second place in the Pacific. The Kings have been incredibly unlucky this season, perhaps that bodes well for someone finally beating them in the playoffs. After all, along with skill, the Kings have had plenty of luck in their Stanley Cup championships. Every team that wins the Cup has a lot of luck on their side. Perhaps this is the year that somebody not named Chicago beats LA or somebody not named LA beats Chicago. Over the last few years, nobody has been able to beat these teams except each other. The last time the Kings lost a best-of-seven series against anyone other than the Blackhawks was the 2011 playoffs when they lost to the Sharks in six games while missing Anze Kopitar. The last time the Blackhawks lost a series to anyone other than the Kings was the 2012 playoffs when they lost to the Phoenix Coyotes while missing Marian Hossa for over half the series.

The success of these two squads begs an interesting question, which of the other 28 teams are most equipped to beat them? The following are three teams best constructed to complete the monumental task(s).

3. New York Rangers

Can Henrik Lundqvist complete that last step for the New York Rangers? Russ Cohen answers that question and more. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Can Henrik Lundqvist complete that last step for the New York Rangers? (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

Full disclosure, earlier this month I did not include the Rangers on my list of the top 5 contenders. However, after watching the Rangers sweep their recent California road trip, that was clearly a mistake. For a west coast writer that doesn’t get to watch many Eastern Conference games, I had figured the Rangers would take a step back after losing some key role players during the offseason. However, they have more than proven themselves capable of getting back to the final. With Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes, the Rangers don’t need a whole lot in front of him to go a long way but they still have some marquee talent. Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Martin St. Louis are the big names and Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin, Derick Brassard, and Mats Zuccarello are quality up front. Defensively Marc Staal, Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Klein, Dan Girardi, and Dan Boyle is an impressive top-five on the blue-line. It takes depth, great goaltending, and some luck to beat the best of the best. The Rangers definitely have a better chance to beat Chicago or LA in a rematch than the Pittsburgh Penguins.

2. St. Louis Blues

Kevin Shattenkirk Blues
Shattenkirk has been a key cog in the Blues’ defensive engine (Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE)

Winners in seven of their last eight games, the St. Louis Blues are once again a top contender. While many Blues fans are sour on their own team because of past playoffs, they have a real chance this year. They have some dynamic forwards with Vladimir Tarasenko having a breakout year, and they still boast a terrific defense with Kevin Shattenkirk, Jay Bouwmeester, and Alex Pietrangelo. Their starting goaltender Brian Elliot is sporting a .930 save percentage and they have Ken Hitchock behind the bench. You could make the case the Blues have the best chance to beat the Blackhawks and/or the Kings because they play that similar heavy style. They also have more experience against both clubs, having faced both LA and Chicago in recent years during the postseason. St. Louis understands just how difficult it is to beat both these teams. If the Blues can add a depth piece or two at the trade deadline, they would without a doubt be the best candidate to knock off either of the juggernauts.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Anton Stralman (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Being swept by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round last season might have been the best thing ever to happen to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Already a good team, the Lightning were humbled. Yes they missed Ben Bishop between the pipes in that series but being swept stung, and goaltending wasn’t the only problem. So what does GM Steve Yzerman do? Well even in a salary cap league, Yzerman found a way to reload with even more talent. At forward Brian Boyle was added for size and scoring depth up the middle but the big pieces brought in were on the blue-line with Anton Stralman and Jason Garrison. To go along with stud No. 1 Victor Hedman and quality NHL veteran Matt Carle, there isn’t a much better top four defense in the league. With young forwards like Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson blossoming into tremendous scorers, the Lightning are stacked up front. Even without the two youngsters who are first and third on the team in scoring, Tampa Bay still features arguably the second best player in the game Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, Valtteri Filppula, and Ondrej Palat up front. That is as good of a top-six as any in the league and while he is well past his prime, having a guy like Brenden Morrow makes me like the Lightning even more. The former Stars captain is one of the toughest competitors I’ve ever seen. With younger depth forwards like 2013 third overall pick Jonathan Drouin and Alex Killorn, the Lightning can roll four lines, which is what you have to do to beat LA or Chicago. Depth wise, I like their makeup just a little bit more than St. Louis or New York.

There you have it, the three best suited clubs to knock off Chicago or LA in a best-of-seven. Agree or disagree? Leave a comment below!

52 thoughts on “3 Teams Best Suited to Beat Chicago and/or LA”

  1. Your fixation on LA is pathetic. Do you watch hockey? Or keep up to date with recent trends. The Kings are struggling desperately to stay in contention. Whopdie do if they’ve gone deep in the playoffs before while having sub-par seasons it is not a trend that can be continued. Their defense isn’t what it use to be without Voynov and Mitchell while their offense no longer has the juice it did. Jonathan Quick also has not been a Vezina caliber goaltender since 2012. All of these things combined with the emergence of Nashville, St. Louis, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg etc show that the Kings reign will be short lived until they fix their problems.

    Who will beat them? HA, odds are they will miss the playoffs and this article will look like a moronic joke written by a tool.

  2. The Blues were poisoned by the water in Russia last year . When they left for Russia last year they pretty much had western Con, Crowned.When they got back they were not the same team ..Blues will Go all the way this year if they play smart and stay healthy in the all star .No reason they should beat them selves up.in the all stars

  3. Tampa blays little if any defense – BIG problem against LA or Chi. St. Louis has not gotten any better this year – they WILL fold in the playoffs…those 7 wins were against inferior teams…Stasny – their ‘big’ offseason aquisition has done nothing – a 50 point center is not a #1 center. Tarasenko has colled off – teams watch him now and he is not getting the cheap nad easy goals. Backes is a concussion waiting to happen before he is out of the league – wakey, wakey. Teh Rangers? that’s laughable – they can’t score.

    • Nash, tied for the League lead in scorimg is on the Rangers… The team is 6th in the league with 3.00 goals for/game, 3rd in the league with 2.32 goals against/game, and 16-3-0 in their last 19 dating back to December 8, 2014.

      Are you stupid? What league are you follwing? This isn’t 2012…

  4. Several have mentioned what Winnipeg has managed to do in Chicago this year. I don’t see the Hawks allowing that to continue in the playoffs, but still I don’t think Chicago would be thrilled to draw them in the first round, which at this point is a plausible scenario. Anything can happen, but I still think the WC Finals will be Chi-LA again and the winner will go on to win the Cup. I’m just not sold on anybody in the EC right now. On paper I still think the Penguins are the best team in the East right now, but we all know their playoff history especially if they’re not 100% healthy. Maybe Tampa. The Rangers might be able to get back to the Finals, but beating Chicago/LA once they do it is another thing entirely. Last year the Kings were clearly the better team but the Rangers were just good enough to be competitive and make it interesting. This year they would be outmatched even more. Chicago and to a slightly lesser extent LA are both in win now mode because they’re both (especially Chicago) going to have to make some tough decisions in the offseason.

  5. Although, this article maybe true for the bruins I don’t think that it is anywhere close for the L.A. Kings. I don’t think with their level of play this season they even should be considered to be called a power house team let alone called one. They have played so poorly that I don’t even see them being a playoff contender.

    • Tyler, obviously not a hockey guy or you would know the Kings history. Its no secret to anyone else that The Kings now and the kings during the playoff run are two different teams. Ask anyone who knows hockey if LA is a PowerHouse. They may not always win but they will factor in when it counts. Respect when respect is due is something haters should learn

  6. Tampa is a lot like the Penguins; great offense and a suspect defense. Boston has the grit to take on the west but no offense here in January, But this is January, not April.

    LA and Chicago are tough to beat in a seven game series, still the teams to beat. Blue are good but they’re always good in January. See how it goes in April, MAY, June.

    Final four: Chicago over Saint Louis in 7. Detroit over Boston in 6. Sorry guys, Black Hawks win the cup again in 5 over the new and improved Red Wings.

  7. Some good points are made here, but the Rangers…not likely. If you are listing depth as an issue for a team like the Ducks then the Rangers shouldn’t be anywhere near this list. I am not a Sharks fan at all, but they are far more dangerous than the Rangers, not to mention that they are much more likely to at least get a chance at the Hawks and Kings when the playoffs roll around.

    Back on the Ducks, though, Boudreau hasn’t had success in the playoffs and their D (more dynamic offensively and not defensive enough) are definitely major concerns. That said, anyone who thinks they aren’t deep enough haven’t been watching hockey this season. They retooled the team this offseason specifically to lower their regular season “flash” and focus on a more balanced lineup for the playoffs. Specifically, they added Kesler and Thompson down the middle to take the pressure off Getzlaf and improve face-off percentage, which is key in close playoff games. They went from a bottom 10 face-off team last year to number 8 this year. And while I don’t put much stock in having the most points in the league, it is telling when you can do it while having the second most games missed in the NHL. They have nearly 250 games missed, including a third of the season without Perry. Of the 5 teams referenced in this article (Chi, LA, NYR, Stl & TB), Chicago has missed the most with only 80 games missed. The guys that have filled in are now being dropped to the third and fourth lines and some, like Beleskey with his 17 goals, are being scratched on occasion because there isn’t enough room.

    I watch a lot of hockey, but I live on the west coast, so I miss a lot of the early east coast games. Tampa is a team to be reckoned with, but I think they might be a year or so away (more experience for their young stars) from being on Chicago and LA’s level. The Sharks are the team out here to keep an eye on. The changes I referenced the Ducks making were done to combat one team, LA, and I think they finally have the team to knock them off. What that has done, though, is make a potential matchup with the Sharks very dangerous. Last year’s Ducks could skate with the Sharks, but the new, more grinding style of the Ducks can’t keep up. If they meet in the playoffs it will force Boudreau to do something he has yet to do…win a series for his team. He will have to develop a plan to slow down the Sharks and make every game a grinding, playoff type of game.

    My list would be 1. Tampa, 2. St. Louis, 3. Anaheim & 4. San Jose

    Go ahead, start poking holes. :)

    • I think youre giving the sharks a bit too much credit. even strength scoring way down from a year ago.

    • i love to root for the under dog as much as anybody but takes more than a strong half season for me to believe in a team. Also Chicago is 3-1 vs NSH this year, and LA scored 3 goals in final 2 minutes to tie NSH, sure they lost, but that is hard to forget about, LA doesnt ever die easily.

  8. As a Hawks fan I would say the best way to beat us is with aggressive d-men play and by clogging up the neutral zone. They seem to have trouble adjusting when teams actually come at them rather then sit back and shut up shop. Winnipeg has beaten us 3 times by being incredibly aggressive with Byfuglien and those guys and not allowing us to break out and carry the puck through the neutral zone. The problem with beating teams like Chicago and LA is that you have to be able to do it throughout an entire series, which is obviously easier said than done. Go Hawks.

  9. I watch Tampa Bay every game and I love this team. They are exciting, fast and skilled. The addition of Brian Boyle was the best off-season transaction that Yzerman made. Mark my words that Kucherov (who doesn’t get enough press) will be a Super Star when he realizes how good he can be. Johnson is better than MSL was at this stage. Heck, Johnson is better than MSL was at any stage because Johnson plays “D”. [An interesting side note is that MSL’s best +/- year was when TB won the Cup — that’s not a coincidence.]

    Having said the above, TB struggles against “heavy”, checking teams. I don’t think TB will win a 7-game series against Boston. When I look at the teams in the East, the only team that matches up well against the West in a 7-game series is Boston. I’m not implying that Boston will win the East and go to the Finals, but they match-up the best against the West. The playoffs are such a grind that usually, big, physical teams end up in the finals. I just don’t think TB is that team.

  10. I’m all for history as a guide, but it doesn’t necessarily mean much when you recognize that things change. The playoffs are very different than the regular season. I’ll confess to being a hard core Ranger fan who lives in SoCal (within 2.5 miles of every guy on the Kings). But allowances for being a fan aside, I consider myself very much a hockey purist and a fairly objective judge of talent and what it takes to win.
    The smart money had the Kings winning the Cup last year because this was a team BUILT for the playoffs – they may well turn their season around, but IMO they aren’t anywhere close to an upper echelon team at the moment. Chicago is a shell of the team they were – it’s obviously not the talent (cuz if ever revolved around that the Hawks wouldn’t lose more than 5 games all year); that said, unless they figure it out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go out in the 1st Round. Nashville is very much for real – Rinne is that good and Weber is amazing, but this is a VERY good team. St. Louis (who you do have up there) is EXCELLENT and they have the game necessary to come out of the West – couple of bad streaks, but the rest of the time consistent and DOMINANT.

    Last year, the West was clearly better than the East – I think that gap has been narrowed considerably. There’s an expression in boxing: styles make fights. It’s the sports version of rock, paper, scissors. One additional thing I would point out if the West representative ISN’T the Kings or the Ducks – MAJOR advantage playing on Pacific Coast time – travel is very tough to begin with and there’s the accumulation, accretive aspect of the playoffs.

    The Rangers are much improved over last season and that’s with most of their best players underperforming (Nash being the obvious exception and no one could have foreseen what Klein has done) – Lundquist for some reason is a poor starter but there’s a reason he’s considered the best goalie in the world and one of the big reasons is how calm he plays. Rangers have improved their overall team speed (and are now clearly the fastest team in the league), but mostly they play quite a bit more disciplined and they have finally gotten AV’s system. Where they have improved significantly is the combo of speed and physicality on the wings (still very weak on both at center, which completely doomed them against the Kings). That said, I don’t know if they match up well with Tampa Bay or for that matter the Islanders – although history suggests that neither of those teams will do real well in the playoffs (which as others pointed out do NOT favor teams that give up goals). The Rangers do, IMO, match up real well against both Montreal (who I think is way overrated) and Detroit (who I think is way underrated and possesses a whole bunch of intangibles that successful teams seem to have).

    • Wolgang, nothing but a Rangers fan making comments here…Talk about talent and what it takes to win, really? Its fine that you’re an obvious Rangers fan but stick to facts. Only NY thinks Lundquist is the best in the world. Those days are long gone. Too many other goalies look great and Quick outplayed Hank in the Head to Head. Sure Quick isnt looking great now but there hasnt been a better playoff goalie over the last several years (my opinion). How everyone is so quick to count the Kings out already (a fact that we Kings fans just love) but nevermind that our top scoring line has been missing 2 of its 3 members for weeks now and one of our top 4 D men has been out all year. Make no mistake, the Kings are hurting right now and they are tired but they are what most other squads are not…A TEAM…no clear cut superstars with huge egos…this is a TEAM that comes together when it needs to and knows now to win.

  11. Why does everyone always overlook My RedWings. 5 game winning streak going into the all star break 2nd in the east, Just beat one of the hottest teams in the west, barring Rinne. Our Young talent core are getting that experience and are all improving on a daily basis, not mention a stacked development system in Grand Rapids. Did i forget to mention that they beat both of these teams, LA in a Landslide.

    • Sharks beat the kings 4-0 in the opener this year, doesn’t mean much at all. Unless youre talkinga bout WPG winning 3 gms in Chicago this year, that is saying something. I can bet most hawks fans don’t want to see the jets in the playoffs

  12. Ducks are 17-4-1 in December and January but because one loss was to the Rangers, you pick Rangers over Ducks in the playoffs. The Rangers wouldnt even be in a playoff seed in the West without the ability to feast on weak eastern opponents. Last year the ducks were 1 game away from beating LA and the ducks have improved this year with Kesler and the emergence of Andersen as a reliable #1 goalie. Despite being #1 in points, the ducks are still the rodney dangerfield of hockey

  13. Andrew, you know your stuff! I agree with your list, though im suspect of Tampa. I believe they will come out of the east, but do you think Hedman can match Doughty or Keith? Stamkos isn’t a two-way center like toews and Kopitar, which what wins you playoff games. Can Jon Cooper outcoach Qunnivelle or Sutter? Both these coaches are playoff coaches and are hard to outcoach in a seven-game series.

  14. Thanks for making us LA fans feel (a little bit) better about the state of their play this year. I think the key not discussed is the effect of the Slava Voynov situation and recent injury to Robyn Regehr. D and goal tending is what won two cups for us in my opinion. You remove a top 4 defenseman in the Voynov case (with understandably a dramatic impact in the locker room) and injuries (which I recognize all teams face) and you end up with sitting 9th in the standings… Maybe they channel the luck and potentially a Norris for Doughty or they flame out in the second round this year… Heaven forbid they miss it all…

  15. We already saw that the Rangers can’t beat the Kings. Yeah they won 13 of 14 and took 3 from the California teams and then came back home and got dominated by the Islanders (again) Islanders are a better team. They win with skill and with toughness. They are incredibly deep at forward and have perhaps the best 4th line in the NHL. And to top it all off, Tavares has only been okay this year. And they still have the best record in the Eastern conference

    As long as Halak stays healthy, expect them to remain on top of the standings.

    • So because they lost one series to them that means they can’t beat them? I recall the Pens losing to Detroit one year and then beating them next in the final. As for the Isles, they are a much better team this year, just still not completely sold they have all the horses

    • Teams that rely on offensive firepower overwhelming their opposition have NOT performed well in the postseason. Pittsburgh and San Jose are two prime examples of that. In fact, since 2010, no SC winner has finished lower than 6th in Goals Allowed at the end of the regular season. NYI are currently 22nd.

    • I’m a Canucks fan first and Blues fan second, so barring a (seemingly somewhat miraculous) run by the former, I sincerely hope your vote for the latter isn’t wasted.

  16. I love it because I’m a huge Lightning fan, but I’m a little suspicious of Garrison, Stralman, Hedman, and Carle being called one of the best sets of Top Four D-men in the game. Granted, Stralman is incredible, Garrison is very solid and Hedman keeps getting better and better, but Carle (though he’s played pretty well of late until his injury) makes way too many bad plays/passes. That plus the fact that our D gives up a middle-of-the-pack 2.53 goals a game doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence. I love our offense, I love Bish in net (most nights!), and with Vasilevskiy as a back up, I think we could go pretty deep in the playoffs. BUT, as the mantra goes, defense wins championships. And I think we need to do a little more work to get to that kind of level. Just mho.

  17. The Ducks have made significant improvements to their lines, while the Kings will be serving the same stew as last season – The Ducks lost that series by on errant pass from Bryan Allen, who is no longer on the team. The have also not lost two games in a row all season. Last Time i checked with Home advantage every team they play will be up against the odds

    • “The [sic] have also not lost two games in a row all season.”

      I don’t know where you got that from, but a quick look through their schedule and record so far reveals the following:

      Nov. 5th, 7th, and 9th: 3 losses in a row
      Nov. 15th, 16th, and 18th: 3 losses in a row
      Nov. 28th and 29th: 2 losses in a row

    • Never been sold on the Ducks the last few years, even with Kesler in the fold, i think they are top heavy, I think Fowler and the back end is still overrated, it’s never hard to score goals against Anaheim. Perhaps it is partially my bias, but my Sharks (who have struggled this year like you said) have kicked the Ducks butt again this season. Not sure why nobody else can beat them during the regular season but come playoffs, I expect another one and done or two n done from the Ducks.

      • Andrew NAILED IT! Ducks are built for 82 games – nothing more. Ducks take advantage of the schedule getting teams on B2B or a long roadie. Ducks are great at beating teams when everything is not equal. In the SCP when rest and travel is equal – the Ducks are cooked. The Ducks have 4 massive weaknesses and these 4 are about the worst 4 you can have: Head Coach, Line Depth, Defense, Goaltending. There is a very good reason why Bruce BOOBreau has never made the Conf Finals – he goes up against someone better than him and his team is cooked. As Andrew pointed out – Ducks have at best 2 lines and come Playoff time that won’t get it done. Ducks have mediocre defense and have no slid goalie with playoff experience. Ducks will NOT see the WCF once again this season and they better pray the Kings are not their 1st round opponent because if that is the case once again the Kings will win because they are built for 28 games not 82. Ducks have some of the worst and most ignorant fans in the NHL and Nariman posting asking about them proves it

        • Erik. What? “Ducks take advantage of the schedule getting teams on B2B or a long roadie. Ducks are great at beating teams when everything is not equal.” This makes zero sense. No other teams (i.e. the Kings) play teams on the second half of a back to back? Here is a recent example. The Ducks just beat the Kings on the second half of their back to back last weak (I know, I was there). The Ducks have lost the most man games to illness and injury in the NHL yet they still lead the NHL in points. You need line depth to do that, no? They lost all-world Corey Perry for most of December and still went something like 10-3-3.

          Defense? Fowler, Lindholm, and Vatanen, and maybe Josh Manson will make up probably the best core of 4 defensemen in the NHL. They are all 23 and under and are already playing at a high level.

          The Kings fan base is largely made up of jilted Southern California Raiders fans who like the team for their silver and black colors. Your post proves this incontrovertible truth.

          Go to Youtube and watch the great Quick cheat yet again in that Ducks game. “Jonathan Quick Cheating” will get you there. Voynov was right.

      • Fowler may be a lost cause though thats no reason to hate on the D, Stoner is tough, Lindholm is the true future at #1, Beauch is the vet hard checker, “vatman” is the scorer Ducks have been lacking and Lovejoy may be getting back on track and from the past two season he brings 120 percent come playoff time. So they are not overrated or underrated and think it’s still up in the air if these young D can get tough enough to get through a 7 game series against a good team. Top heavy is a joke, another guppy fan this year said the Dux have been a one line team for years so I’ll give you credit for acknowledging they have two but in reality when healthy there key to success has been the ability to roll four lines throughout the year. Perhaps the only reason they were able to hang with LA was that they could match them minute for minute. Totally let down in game 7 last year but the was the past I’ll take them going to the finals this year.

        • Holy heck. Fowler is so far from a lost cause. Do you even watch the games? Lovejoy is probably one of the weakest top two guys in the league. Remember how he looked when Fowler went down last year? Loevjoy was a 7-8 blueliner with the Pens; it is why the Ducks got for a 5 pick. I agree, Lovejoy plays hard every game but he is not a top two guy.

    • Not yet sold on NSH or WPG, as another comment pointed out WPG has won all three games in Chicago this year so it is certainly possible, but I just don’t see it.

  18. I agree with the 3 teams on the list except I would switch the Rangers to 2 and St. Louis 3. The reason is Henrik Lundqvist. I just don’t trust Brian Elliot in a playoff series for St. Louis. I don’t understand why they let Ryan Miller walk. Despite his best season, I don’t see him carrying the Blues past an LA or Chicago. They are gonna have to score a lot to do so. Tampa Bay is definitely the class of the Eastern Conference right now, as you said they are so deep offensively. The Blueline is average though and their gonna have to upgrade at the trade deadline if they want to win the East. I believe the Rangers would beat them in a playoff series currently despite going 0-3 in regular season. Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi as as good as it gets once the playoffs start.

    • if this was a top 5 list, I would have the Islanders at 4th and then a darkhorse Winnipeg Jets at 5. Winnipeg may sound crazy but they are 3-0 this season IN CHICAGO. They do not fear the Blackhawks and are playing with 4 regular defenseman out of their lineup I believe. I think they would give the Hawks or LA a run for their money if they get into the playoffs and matchup against one of them. Their so physical, have been getting depth scoring, and the emergence of Hutchinson has really pushed Pavelec in the net to improve his game.

      • wow didn’t know that about WPG in CHI, that is impressive, i just have a hard time taking WPG or NSH as serious contenders until they prove it for a second season.

        Thanks for the read and comment!

    • I debated putting my hometown Sharks in the top 3, but too many things have gone wrong for them, injuries and self inflicted decisions like moving Brent Burns back to the blue-line and their reluctance to playing Pavelski at third line center. Since the 2011 playoffs began, SJ is 15-11 in the post-season, with him in the top-six they are just 5-10. Of course correlation doesn’t mean causation, but we all know how important it is to have scoring depth in the playoffs, and without Pavelski on the third line, they simply don’t have enough of that.

    • This San Jose team is playing horrendously. If it wasn’t for Thornton and Pavelski, I don’t think they’d even be in the playoff picture right now. Besides, they were better the past four seasons, and even then they were humiliated by better teams each and every time, and LA is in that list. Maybe they have a few miracles to pull off before the end of this season, but as it stands even Vancouver and Calgary have a better chance against Chicago, and a moderate chance against LA (assuming Vancouver can get their act together against LA).

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