TALE OF THE TAPE: CHICAGO VS. LOS ANGELES
THIS WEEK'S TV LISTINGS
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS VS. LOS ANGELES KINGS
PREDICTION: BLACKHAWKS IN SIX GAMES
MIXER'S TAKE: As eerily reminiscent as this Kings' playoff run is to their Stanley Cup quest from a year - and also considering the old cliche that the road to a championship runs through the defending champ - I have a strong feeling that this round is where Los Angeles' bid for a repeat comes to an end. But this will be the Blackhawks' toughest test in these playoffs, a lofty statement considering they just stared a 3-1 series deficit in the face and were able to eliminate the Detroit Red Wings in seven games. The Blackhawks look like a club that's really found its stride, and that was evident in Games 5-7 of their series against Detroit. When they needed an extra gear or a big save from Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks found it and they got strong supporting performances from their depth forwards. There's still a good chance the Kings knock off the Blackhawks and the main reason is their goaltender; Jonathan Quick is 8-5 in this tournament but has crazy-stingy numbers that have kept Los Angeles in virtually every single game. Quick is the equalizer in the series but his counterpart at the other end is no slouch, which leads me to believe this may be a series decided by star players. Whose big guns will rise to the occasion and take control? In this Western Conference Final, I'm going with Jonathan Toews and the Blackhawks in six games over the defending champions, but it might feel like many more games than that when all is said and done.