Ducks, Kings begin playoffs under different circumstances
APR 27, 2013 11:54p ET
When the Los Angeles Kings began play on Saturday night, their hopes for home ice in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs were gone as the St. Louis Blues were comfortably ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Instead, the Kings finished as the fifth seed in the Western Conference after defeating the San Jose Sharks, 3-2, on Saturday. They'll have to begin their quest to another Stanley Cup title on the road.
Los Angeles will open up at the St. Louis Blues, a team they have defeated eight consecutive times, including last year’s second-round playoff sweep.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter is quick to remind that this is a different Blues team.
“They’re an improved team obviously from the last time we played them in the regular season. In addition to Jay Bouwmeester and Jordan Leopold on defense (acquired at the trade deadline), probably the biggest difference would be they were down to one goalie last year after splitting throughout the regular season. I think that really affected the team, and now they are clear on who their goalie is,” Sutter said.
Last year’s Kings team suffered only one road loss in their quest for the Stanley Cup. This regular season, the road has not been too kind to the Stanley Cup Champions, who finished in the bottom third in the NHL in road records.
Los Angeles won only eight times in 24 road tries during the regular season and lost their last six road contests to close out the season.
Down in Anaheim, the