Here's a brief look at seven reports from Los Angeles to Canada and elsewhere on the Blackhawks-Kings series that touch on the rivalry, important numbers, key matchups and more:
It's all one-sided:
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One factor that isn't helping foster a rivalry here is that this series has been completely one-sided over the past four years. Including their playoff battles, the Blackhawks have a record of 17-4-1 against the Kings going back to the calendar hitting 2010. In the playoffs the Blackhawks now have a 5-1 edge in recent battles and held a 3-0 lead this regular season.
Old wisdom dictates it's not a rivalry unless both sides are winning and for whatever reason, the Kings aren't winning.
-- Brian Stubits CBSSports.com
Now it starts
One of the few teams that can match up to Chicago on paper though is the Kings. Like Chicago, Los Angeles features a great defense, skilled forwards, and clutch performers. The Kings aren't a team that's intimated by a deficit, but the Blackhawks in turn don't get ahead of themselves when they gain the upper hand.
This series is just getting started.
-- Ryan Dadoun, ProHockeyTalk.nbcsports.com
The Toews factor:
Anze Kopitar is playing the best hockey of his life this spring. He leads the 2014 playoffs in scoring with 19 points in 15 games and has been held scoreless in just two games so far. He has also been a minus player in just two games through this postseason.
The good news for the Blackhawks is that both of those things happened in Game 1 of this series. Kopitar was held without a shot, his sharpshooter linemate Marian Gaborik was also held off the scoresheet. …
Joel Quenneville is matching power against power, putting his own Selke Trophy nominee (Jonathan) Toews up against Kopitar. It worked perfectly in Game 1 and will need to keep working if the 'Hawks hope to cruise on to their second straight Stanley Cup Final.
-- Carol Schram, The Bleacher Report
The key numbers:
22: The number of giveaways credited to Drew Doughty, the most in the playoffs.
16: The number of takeaways credited to Marian Hossa, the most in the playoffs.
6: The number of primary assists for Brandon Saad, the third most in the playoffs. Anze Kopitar leads the league with eight.
-- Greg Boysen, Secondcityhockey.com
Kings cool and calm:
The level of anxiety inside the Kings' locker room Tuesday was about as palpable as Phil Ivey sitting on a straight flush at poker night at the local retirement home.
The words calm, cool and collected come to mind.
Three rounds into these NHL playoffs, the Kings have shown a remarkable disdain for doing things the easy way. And just one game into the conference finals they find themselves in the familiar position of having to fight back from a deficit.
For whatever reason, the Kings don't do easy.
The strange thing is, they seem to prefer it that way.
-- Vincent Bonsignore,
Los Angeles Daily News
According to Shiftchart.com, (Jonathan) Toews was on the ice at the same time as (Anze) Kopitar about 70 percent of the time. The majority of that time was spent with (Marian) Hossa and (Bryan) Bickell while playing against Kopitar's line. That's largely the result of having the last line change on home ice but speaks to (Joel) Quenneville's trust in his top forwards.
-- Brian Hedger,
The rivalry should grow
The Blackhawks and Kings are the latest to form a rivalry based on the postseason. It's been a fairly respectful one thus far but there's always the chance venom rises as the series continues. The hockey between them should keep getting better, too.
-- Tracey Myers
Regardless of which two teams reach the Stanley Cup final, the NHL must already feel as though it's won the lottery. A Chicago win in the West will ensure an Original Six showdown in the final for the second straight season after not having one since 1979. A Montreal appearance will come just in time for the city to enact its law allowing bars to stay open until 6 a.m.
And no matter which teams are involved, they will either be steeped in tradition or be exposed to a vast market, or both.
But let's face it, a matchup between the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings would be more than the league could have asked for, or expected when the season began.
-- Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, on 10 reasons to root for a Kings-Rangers Stanley Cup final