Blackhawks vs. Kings: Preview and Prediction for NHL Playoffs 2014 Matchup

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Blackhawks vs. Kings: Preview and Prediction for NHL Playoffs 2014 Matchup
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Just as it was one season ago, the Western Conference champion is going to be decided by a series between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings. 

Both teams were challenged en route to this point, though the Kings got closer to the precipice than the Hawks.

Chicago faced a very difficult matchup against the St. Louis Blues in the first round, a legitimate contender that had added goaltender Ryan Miller as its final piece for a long run. The Blackhawks held off that challenge before meeting a surprisingly competitive Minnesota Wild team in the second round. 

The Kings' road was even tougher, including a pair of seven-game series against the always competitive San Jose Sharks and then the regular-season Western Conference champion Anaheim Ducks. 

In the following slides, we'll break down the two best teams in the West, look at the schedule, key storylines and players to watch and provide everything else a fan needs to prepare for what should be an exceptional series. 

 

Unless otherwise noted, statistics are courtesy of NHL.com

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