ST. LOUIS - Just like last spring, the St. Louis Blues have the higher seed but the unenviable task of facing the defending Stanley Cup champion in the first round of the playoffs.
For the Blues to prevail against the Chicago Blackhawks in a matchup of 100-point teams, coach Ken Hitchcock says they'll need standout play from goalie Ryan Miller. St. Louis lost in six games to the Kings and Jonathan Quick last year and acquired Miller in hopes of making a deep run.
Hitchcock anticipates game-time decisions for the opener Thursday night, with a roster hit hard by injuries during a six-game losing streak to end the regular season.
I don't have a crystal ball. Predicting is a real complicated thing. If we stay healthy, have enough depth and get the good goaltending we think we're going to have, you can go all the way. But a lot of things have to happen. There's going to be a lot of teams that think the same thing. Everyone made deals. We're all are optimistic about where we'll end up.
— Rangers general manager Glen Sather after being asked if he's constructed a team that can win the Stanley Cup before their 4-1 win against the Predators on Monday