Craig Custance chats with rival scouts and players to break down the strengths and weaknesses of the Los Angeles Kings.
Last year, it was pure domination. The Kings faced the Blues in the second round of the playoffs and sent the No. 2 seed in the West home for the summer without a single win in that series. It was the moment the Kings arrived as the sudden Cup favorite, despite their No. 8 seed.
"Last year, every coach in the West said you do not want to play the L.A. Kings because they can impose their will on you, which not a lot of other teams can do, because of their size," said a Western Conference coach.
The team that comes closest this year? The Blues. The Kings' opponent in the first round.
"St. Louis, at times, can do that," said the coach. "They play that way."
And part of the reason they play that way is they saw how successful that style was for Los Angeles in the playoffs last year.
"They felt it firsthand," he said.
It's almost an example of student versus teacher and if Los Angeles can survive, it will have immediately eliminated one of their biggest hurdles to a repeat.