No one has to tell you that Vancouver is under a lot of pressure. They don't just want a round, they want the whole thing. Fans, TV, radio, newspapers, they are abuzz everywhere.
And it all starts here. Game 1 of the 2011-2012 playoffs.
The Kings, well, many wrote them off halfway through the season. However, they put together a great run and have basically been playing playoff-style hockey for the last two-and-a-half months.
Vancouver has had control of a top-three seeding since January in a very weak Northwest division.
So, what does this have to do with anything?
The Canucks are going from a very low-stress environment into a pressure cooker almost overnight. The Kings have been in that pressure cooker for a long time and are used to it.
It's an experienced team in Vancouver and I am sure it won't effect them that much. It's business as usual. But if the rust of the late regular season is not shaken off in the first few games by the Canucks, the Kings could put them down before they even get up.
With that intense of a hockey market, that passionate of a fanbase, if things turn south early then it might be a slippery slope.
In short, the Kings are playing with everything to gain and the Canucks with everything to lose.
The first two games of the series in Vancouver will be key for the Kings to at least get a foothold and make Vancouver feel the pressure.