Los Angeles Kings vs. Detroit Red Wings 7:30 ET
Give it up for Ron Barr:
L.A. Kings: The Kings have a team whose combination of young defense and veteran scorers along with solid goaltending took them back to the playoffs in 2009-10. The offense revolves around Anze Kopitar, but there are a number of forwards who can score. The defense is young, strong and improving. Dustin Brown is a tough hard nosed winger with big a heart. The consummate team player, Brown will get involved in the action from the opening face off – team Brown up with skilled players, and count on him to shine at both ends of the ice. Drew Doughty is one of the league’s emerging young stars. His combination of size and speed along with his “crash and bang” style make him one of the top blueliners in the NHL. His offensive skills are good, but he excels at checking opponents out of the play. Jonathan Quick has emerged as one of the league’s more reliable goaltenders, you can trust him to make the big save.
Detroit Red Wings: Rich in talent at all positions, the Red Wings possess one of the NHL’s top offences. With a line-up that includes quality checkers, scoring power and a two-way defense, Detroit should challenge for the Stanley Cup. Henrik Zetterberg is a tireless worker with stunning playmaking skills. Zetterberg is a finesse player who tears through traffic. He can find the open man with an accurate pass or bulge the twine himself with a well placed shot. Use him in all situations, including penalty killing. Nicklas Lidstrom is a terrific defenseman who can jump up into the play and become a fourth forward.
Jimmy Howard is rock solid and a quality choice between the pipes. Pavel Datsyuk is a player most NHL coaches would covet to have on their roster. The two-way center has solid defensive skills to complement a whirlwind of offensive capabilities. A consistent 25-plus goal man, Datsyuk is great in every situation. He has tremendous moves and is exceptional with the puck. The Red Wings have enough scoring depth that you can play with line changes on and count on four lines to contribute.
Adam Deadmarsh, bless his hockey soul
Our Prediction: The Wings are deadly at home. Detroit wins 3-1, Lidstrom scores the winner.