In case you hadn't heard, the Stanley Cup Playoffs start tonight, and many analysts are picking Kings-Blues to be this year's most competitive opening-round series. Robert and langluy have already given you some previews of the action to come. So you can continue preparing for Game One, let's take a look back at some of what's happened since last year...
In 2012, the Los Angeles Kings came into the playoffs playing well, but they lost their final games and dropped all the way to the eighth seed. However, a solid road performance in the playoff opener (on the road, no less) started an incredible run.
In Round Two, we met the St. Louis Blues. Exactly one year ago, Los Angeles put together their most dominant period of the playoffs, thanks largely to an absurdly great shorthanded goal.
After a couple more gritty performances, they dismissed the Blues and ended the series as they ended many other games: with a persistent forecheck, a defensive lockdown, and a goal to finish it off.
We all know what happened from there (if you want to relive that, YouTube is your friend). As the latest Stanley Cup Moments video shows, there were a few people that really deserved the outcome. They'll be in their usual seats tonight.
But the Kings had a long layoff before returning to defend their title. Was there a bit of a hangover when this season began? Turns out it was nothing to panic over, but maybe we did need some time to recover. Anze Kopitar was always there to help.
To the task at hand. St. Louis brought us some good memories this season! There was, of course, the third-period comeback in our only home matchup with the Blues.
Oh, and don't forget about the road victory a month ago, which completed a season sweep and drew the ire of David Backes.
Now, I'm not saying we should be cocky. After all, "the regular season has no bearing on anything," and even if it did, the Blues beat out the Kings by a point in the Western Conference race. So keep your expectations reasonable.
And we must acknowledge that the Blues have their own history against the Kings in the playoffs.
... and get ready, because the defending champs are looking to prove that they're not quite finished yet. Their quest starts tonight.
Go Kings Go.