I know I've been joking a lot lately and it's been good fun, but I'd like to take a minute to speak seriously in this post. No nonsense, no tricks, just good, earnest analysis of some of the key match-ups to watch in this series. Go ahead and follow me below the jump!
Match-Up to Watch: Backes vs. Kopitar
These two are going to going to be matched up against each other quite a bit, especially in St. Louis. Should be a good match-up: Backes is one of the best defensive centers in the NHL, while Kopitar is also great but no one notices because he's good at offense and European. Backes is one of the few centers in the league that can match Kopitar physically while Kopitar is one of the few centers in the league that is as big as Backes and also faster. It's going to be amazing to watch and everyone outside of Los Angeles and St. Louis is going to call it boring. Fuck those guys.
Match-Up to Watch: Backes vs. The Refs
David Backes is really good but he also took 38 minor penalties this season, tying for the fifth-most in the leauge with Steve Ott and Chris Neil. Of those 38 penalties, 13 of them were roughing penalties; that ties Backes with Steve Downie as the second-most. He'll be playing against Dustin Brown (the best penalty drawer in the NHL), Anze Kopitar (the sweetest guy ever), and Justin Williams (who is tiny and generally gets the benefit of the doubt). See if you can tell where I'm going with this...
Match-Up to Watch: Backes vs. My Memory
Maybe this was just me but was anyone else confused by David Backes for a long time? The problem was I remembered Brad Boyes scoring 40 goals back in 07-08 but then he dipped down until he kinda sucked in 09-10, and then all of a sudden everyone started talking about this new kid with a "B" last name that was a pretty good center and I thought, "Wait, so I thought Boyes was a winger... did they move him to center? What's going on?" It was confusing.
Match-Up to Watch: Colaiacovo-Pietrangelo vs. Scuderi-Doughty
Two late blooming defensive defensemen and two emerging young stars. They probably won't end up playing against each other (Colaiacovo-Pietrangelo will probably get Kopitar, Scuderi-Doughty will probably get Berglund) but each will have a huge say on who wins this series.
Match-Up to Watch: Colaiacovo-Pietrangelo vs. My Spell Check
Jesus Christ, guys.
Match-Up to Watch: Depth vs. High-End Talent
This series is basically the inverse of the Kings-Canucks series. In that series, the Kings sought to shut down the Canucks' best players while relying on their depth for scoring. In this series, the Blues are going to try to do the exact same thing to the Kings. Will it work? We'll see. The Blues weren't quite able to shut down the Sharks' best player (Joe Thornton averaged a point-per-game) but St. Louis' 2nd line ran roughshod over San Jose. If the Blues are able to get that line out there against Stoll's line on a regular basis the Kings might be in trouble. Of course, I thought the same thing with the Sedin line and welp...
Match-Up to Watch: Andy McDonald vs. My Sense Of Disbelief
I don't care that he averages close to a point-per-game when he's healthy, or that he's historically very good, I'll be a monkey's uncle before I respect Andy McDonald. I read in a few different places where they talked about the Blues' potent offense "led by Andy McDonald" and I... well, I didn't guffaw or anything but I expressed amusement. You know how you react when you see a baby elephant? I did that.
Match-Up to Watch: This Series vs. Everything Else
Just kidding, this series is going to crush everything else. I'm excited!
(Go to twitter for jokes. Hope you like typos!)