Though the Los Angeles Kings looked worlds better—and healthier—during Sunday afternoon’s 3-1 loss than they did in last year’s Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, there are still kinks to be ironed out before L.A. can truly challenge a team that has had its number of late.
Chicago eliminated the Kings in five games in 2013 and swept this season’s three-game regular-season series between the clubs.
This is no patch of bad luck. The ‘Hawks understand how to exploit L.A.’s weaknesses and have done so repeatedly in the past couple of years.
Darryl Sutter’s men have shown no quit in the 2013-14 postseason, losing three straight games in a series twice and somehow managing to emerge victorious from those matchups in the end.
However, the Blackhawks are defending champions because they also know how to win. They aren’t likely to let a big, early series lead slip—no matter how resilient L.A. is.
As such, the Kings need to put their best foot forward in Game 2, covering up the following foibles in short order before they dig themselves too deep a hole to recover from.
These concerns range from team issues to specific individuals who may be targeted by Chicago in the series. Also, they’ve been compiled strictly with the ‘Hawks’ strengths in mind and are ordered from lowest to highest potential impact on the outcome of the series.