Kings goalie Jonathan Quick stops a shot by Phoenix's Lauri Korpikoski… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau and Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin will blog for The Times occasionally throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs. Today, Beauchemin gives his general thoughts on the playoffs and the upcoming Kings-Coyotes series.
Great playoff action so far. It’s been fun to watch, especially that Rangers comeback win last night. That was unbelievable. It’s too bad for Joel Ward because it was his high-sticking penalty, but it was quite a game. You could see and feel the crowd going wild at the Garden. That could be the series-changer.
The Kings have obviously been playing really well. I was surprised the way they beat St. Louis in four games. I think the Blues are a really good team – sweeping them in four games was not something I expected. The Kings got balanced scoring and everyone contributing. Quick has been the biggest difference maker. He’s outplaying the goalies they have faced. Blues goalie Brian Elliott didn’t make the big saves to keep them in the game and that was critical.
The layoff might be hard on both the Kings and Coyotes. They’ll keep themselves in good physical shape by having good practices, but that’s not the same. We (the Ducks) had to deal with that in 2006, after we swept Colorado. We waited a few days for Edmonton to finish their series. And when we started against them, we weren’t as sharp. Those days off are hard; it’s not easy to wait it out.
The funny thing about the conference finals is that you’re only halfway there, even though you feel much closer than that. From our experience, we learned that and were much better prepared in 2007. We knew after beating Vancouver (in the second round) that we had our biggest challenge ahead in Detroit. That wasn’t going to be easy, which kept us sharp and mentally ready.
The L.A.-Phoenix series is going to be really interesting. Both goalies (Jonathan Quick and Mike Smith) have played really well so far in the playoffs. They haven’t made too many mistakes. Defensively, they’re both really solid. There’s a lot of depth on both teams. I think they’re really similar in the way they play. They don’t give the other teams much. I’ll be watching that series very closely.
The Eastern series have been entertaining also. New Jersey has been impressive. Martin Brodeur is playing well, surprisingly at his age! They are good defensively and have a lot of veteran guys. The East is wide open.
But … I think the Stanley Cup winner is going to come from the West, just because they’ve been playing the best hockey. Both L.A. and Phoenix have been better than all four teams that are left in the East.
Enjoy the games!
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