Los Angeles Kings: 4 Players Who Will Step Up vs. the St. Louis Blues

Eric McKelvieSenior Writer IApril 30, 2013

Los Angeles Kings: 4 Players Who Will Step Up vs. the St. Louis Blues

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    The Los Angeles Kings are set to open their Stanley Cup title defense on the road against the St. Louis Blues.

    The Kings met the Blues in last year’s Western Conference semifinals and swept them in four games. It was a dominant performance by the Kings, who won each game by at least two goals.

    One of the biggest factors that led to the Kings winning the Stanley Cup was their depth, specifically on offense. The Kings have a number of veteran players who don’t always get the recognition they deserve.

    That said, many of those players aren't at their best until the postseason arrives. Here are four players who will likely step up against the Blues.

     

    Stats courtesy of NHL.com.

Jarret Stoll

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    Jarret Stoll continues to be one of the Kings’ most underrated players.

    The 30-year-old Saskatchewan native provides great depth down the middle and is effective in all game situations. He won 56 percent of his draws this season, many of which were at crucial moments.

    Stoll had just seven goals and 11 assists this season, but what he lacks in offensive skill he makes up for with relentless physicality and smart defensive zone play.

    Look for Stoll to set the tone with a big hit early in games and for his playing time to increase as the series goes on.

Mike Richards

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    The former Philadelphia Flyers captain wore an "A" on his chest in Matt Greene's absence, and Richards certainly earned it. The 28-year-old has had success at every level and played an instrumental role in helping his teams win championships. This includes a Memorial Cup, Calder Cup, a couple gold medals and of course, the Stanley Cup.

    He may not have had a great season statistically, but you can bet he will turn it up when the puck drops in the postseason.

    He had 15 points in 20 playoff games last year and was on the ice for power plays, penalty kills, late in games, etc.

    Richards is a solid two-way player who isn't afraid to lower his shoulder. With that in mind, expect Richards (like Stoll) to make a statement early in the series with a good, clean body check. 

Robyn Regehr

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    Robyn Regehr has come painfully close to hoisting the Stanley Cup. Back in 2004 the Calgary Flames held a 3-2 series lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning, but lost the Cup in Game 7.

    Regehr stayed with the Flames until being traded to the Buffalo Sabres in 2011. This season he waived his no-movement clause to join the Kings.

    The fact that he hasn't hoisted the cup should obviously serve as great motivation for Regehr, who hasn't even played in a playoff game since 2008. Plus, he is playing under Darryl Sutter, who coached him for a few years in Calgary.

    Look for Regehr to play well over 20 minutes a night and be an impact defenseman along with Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov. 

Dustin Penner

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    It’s been a tough year at times for Dustin Penner, who played in just 33 games because of injuries and being a healthy scratch.

    However, the 6'5", 245-pound left winger appears to be ready for another long playoff run. Penner should help provide the Kings with the secondary scoring they will need to be successful against the Blues.

    Penner had a significant impact in last year’s series with the Blues, registering a goal and four assists in the four game sweep. He also went on to score the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference final to send the Kings to the Stanley Cup final.