TCL Round 1 Staff Predictions: Vancouver Canucks vs. Los Angeles Kings

( 1 ) VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs. ( 8 ) LOS ANGELES KINGS

The Vancouver Canucks aren't exactly the most liked team in the NHL, especially after the antics of both their players and their fans in last year's playoffs. Add to that their injuries and woes this season (despite finishing first in the West), and you'll have a hard time finding too many people openly cheering for them to go too far this year. But it's hard to deny their depth and their talent. Luongo not playing well? No problem, you've got Schneider. Daniel Sedin still out with a concussion? Plenty of forwards to try and ease the pain.
 
But on the other side of the ice is a hungry Los Angeles Kings team with a lot to prove, considering their trouble putting things together this season. Can the additions of players like Mike Richards and Jeff Carter help them pull it together when they finally need to be clutch? Only time will tell, but if the TCL Writers are right, Vancouver will just be too strong for them, no matter what you think of them.

Consensus: Canucks in 6

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Schedule:
Game 1: Wed. April 11 at 10:30PM in Vancouver
Game 2: Fri. April 13 at 10PM in Vancouver
Game 3: Sun. April 15 at 10:30PM in Los Angeles
Game 4: Wed. April 18 at 10PM in Los Angeles
Game 5: Sun. April 22 at TBD in Vancouver (if necessary)
Game 6: Tue. April 24 at TBD in Los Angeles (if necessary)
Game 7: Thu. April 26 at TBD in Vancouver (if necessary)
*All Puckdrops are inEastern Standard Time*
 
Genius or Madness: Bryan Wright  - Kings in 5

Unsure of whether to play Luongo or Schneider, the Canucks will instead put Manny Mahotra in net, because according to coach Vigneault, "at 220, he's our fatest player." Meanwhile, the Kings will have Johnathan Quick in net who will be the difference in the series. Of course if he isn't on his game, look for this one to be over in 5, in Vancouver's favor.

Previous SeriesFour series since 1982, each team has won two. Vancouver took the last meeting in 2010 in six games.

Blogger Showdown: Los Angeles Kings - Ty Fisher

Key Players:
Vancouver: 
-F Henrik Sedin 82GP 14G 67A 81PTS +23;
-F Alex Burrows 80GP 28G 24A 52PTS +24;
-D Alex Edler 82GP 11G 38A 49PTS 23:51TOI;
-D Kevin Bieksa 78GP 8G 36A 44PTS +12 23:38TOI;

-G Roberto Luongo 55GP 2.41GAA .919SVP 5SO 31-14-8

Detroit:
-F Anze Kopitar 82GP 25G 51A 76PTS +12 230 shots;
-F Justin Williams 82GP 22G 37A 59PTS +10 241 shots;
-F Dustin Brown 82GP 22G 32A 54PTS +18;
-D Drew Doughty 77GP 10G 26A 36PTS -2 24:53TOI; 

-G Jonathan Quick 69GP 1.95GAA .929SVP 10SO 35-21-13

Key Injuries:
Vancouver: Daniel Sedin (concussion, DTD), Zack Kassian (shoulder, DTD), Keith Ballard (concussion, done)

Los Angeles: Simon Gagné (concussion, indefinitely)

Prax's Take:
It's about time the Vancouver Canucks looked dominant again. While they finished the season on arguably the best streak in the NHL, and managed to beat out the red-hot St. Louis Blues to win the West, people are still having trouble believing in the Canucks. Roberto Luongo has been inconsistent, getting pulled in his second to last game but coming back with a shutout to close the season, and Daniel Sedin's status is still uncertain after suffering a concussion. On the other side of the ice, the Los Angeles Kings have plenty to prove as well in the underdog role, with two new high profile acquisitions in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter since the last time they saw playoff hockey. Unfortunately, I just don't see how they can put it all together against the Canucks this year. The Kings will win one, and most of the games will be close, but this is the Canucks' series to win, whether they get Daniel back or not.
Prediction: Canucks in 5
 
Around The Checking Line:
 
Kyle Busch:
Vancouver is on a roll, and LA has some scoring problems. Even with the likes of Kopitar, Richards, Carter, Doughty, and Williams, the Kings disappointed this year. Jonathan Quick will be just as good if not better than Roberto Luongo, but Vancouver is deeper on defence. Getting Henrik Sedin back should help. ZacK Kassian will be effective in a grinding role; a perfect playoff checker.
Prediction: Canucks in 7
 
Derrick Newman:
Jonathan Quick will win this series for the Kings. I think the Kings are a scary team right now and ready to do some damage and I really couldnt be happier that they are playing the Canucks in the first round. If Richards, Carter, kopitar, Williams, and Brown start to roll, then watch out.
PredictionKings in 7
 
Mark Trible:`
This matchup has all the makings of a classic, even if it's a 1/8 series. L.A. has underachieved all season and recently has been on the up and up. Vancouver's hunger from last year's close call to hoisting the cup combined with experience and depth should be the difference.
Prediction: Canucks in 6
 
Nick Symon:
As much as I like that the Canucks are facing the Kings in the first round, I just can't see the Kings pulling off the upset. I will be cheering for anyone who plays the Canucks but the Kings struggle scoring goals and Jonathan Quick can only make so many saves. Daniel Sedin looks like he will be back at some point in the first round and the depth of the Canucks will take over and help them win in 6. If Richards and Carter start scoring like they did with Philadelphia, the Kings have a chance.
Prediction: Canucks in 6
 
Evan Pivnick:
Jonathan Quick, Jonathan Quick, and Jonathan Quick. If Quick is on his A game and LA's offense picks up, LA has this one.
Prediction: Kings in 6
 
John Link:
The Canucks have had another great season and another President’s trophy to show for it. The Kings on the other hand expected a lot more out of this season but a struggling offense finds them as an 8th seed in the playoffs. Jonathan Quick has had an amazing season and showed the rest of the league he is a great goalie, however he doesn’t have the offensive help needed to pull off this upset. The Sedin twins flex their muscles and advance in 6.
Prediction: Canucks in 6
 
Conor Hassard:
This series between the Canucks and Kings will come down to whether Jonathan Quick can be beat or not. Because the Kings’ offense isn’t the best, Quick will be the difference-maker for LA. He led the NHL in shutouts and would have had even more if the Kings’ offense showed up for the majority of the season. However, they haven’t been consistently well, and the Canucks offense can just dominate at the top of their game. The Canucks are hungry for the Cup after losing in the finals last season, and they will eventually expose Quick and go on to win the series.
Prediction: Canucks in 7
 
Matt Cefalu: 
As much as I believe Jonathan Quick is “quickly” on his way towards becoming a truly elite goaltender, I don’t think this will be his year to really achieve in the post-season. Not only do the Kings have to contain the Sedin twins, but with Mason Raymond and the addition of David Booth, I think the defensive minded Kings will actually have matchup issues with the Canucks’ offensive depth. Luongo won’t necessarily have to out-play Quick, just be solid enough to help smother a mediocre Kings’ offense.
Prediction: Canucks in 6
 
Adam Pardes:
If Jonathan Quick could score goals, the Kings would be hoisting the Cup over their head two months from now. Last time I checked, however, there was a big old donut hole under "G" on Quick's stat sheet. The Canucks will absolutely feast on L.A.'s inability to put up even average offensive numbers, making quick of the Kings and their playoff hopes.
Prediction: Canucks in 5
 
Chuck Gaston:
Quick is on point right now and Lou is not. Without Daniel Sedin, I don't see the Canucks providing enough punch to handle the physical Kings. Kopitar and Richards are going to have a great series and look for perennial goat Jeff Carter to have a few key goals.
Prediction: Kings in 7
 
George Royle:
Tough one to call. The Kings havent hit their potential yet and I think they will turn it on in the playoffs. The Canucks will be a tricky series for anyone to play, but I can sense some inconsistency in the playoffs.
Prediction: Kings in 6
 
Ty Fisher:
Is this Canucks team better than last year's Western Conference champion edition? Only time will tell, but a healthy Daniel Sedin goes a long way, although his presence won't exactly be entirely necessary in this first round. Jonathan Quick will put on a show and finally prove to a few oblivious hockey folk that he deserves the Vezina, but it will ultimately not be enough as his team up front (once again) lets him down.
Prediction: Canucks in 5
 
Andy Veilleux:
LA can finally score. They were winning before they could score, and Quick is potentially the best goalie in the world. Luongo has been better of late, but I still don't like him in big games. I know the Canucks were rolling even without Daniel in the lineup, but that was against nobodies with the exception of the Kings (who they beat 1-0). This will be reminiscient of the Stars/Canucks series of old - hard defense, low-scoring. Series could go either way, but I think LA should upset.
Prediction: Kings in 7