Tag Archive | Kings

Pacific Division 2014-15 Preview

By Brett Malamud

Wednesday is finally here! All day long, Dabuzzza will be bringing you the NHL coverage as we approach tonight’s games. If you missed the Metropolitan Division Preview, click here. If you missed the Atlantic Division Preview, click here. If you missed the Central Division Preview, click here. Arguably the league’s top division, the Pacific Division will be highly contested and is currently filled with goaltender stories. Let’s take a look:

Anaheim Ducks
Dany Heatley and Ryan Kesler come into a high octane offense that led the league in goals per game. Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm represent youth that will lead the defense that ranked ninth in the league in goals against. John Gibson is expected to get the bulk of the playing time in goal but Frederik Anderson will battle him for starts.

 

Arizona Coyotes
Sure they changed their name from Phoenix to Arizona but the Coyotes will  still face the same struggles. The departure of Mike Ribeiro and Radim Vrbata does not bode well for this offense. They brought in Sam Gagner, but the team ranked 20th in goals per game and it’ll be a tough task trying to improve that. The Coyotes ranked 23rd in the league in shots against. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle will attempt to plug that hole in the sinking ship that is the Arizona Coyotes. In goal, Mike Smith and Devan Dubnyk will try to stop the many shots that we know they’ll face this season. It could be a long season in the Desert.

 

Calgary Flames
Losing Mike Cammalleri to the New Jersey Devils was a tough one to swallow, but the addition of Mason Raymond was an intriguing one. Raymond comes in after his one year in Toronto. Speaking of additions, Jonas Hiller will take the reigns as the starting goaltender for Calgary after signing a two year deal back in July. Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie will take first line defensive pairing. The Flames ranked 24th in the league in goals against and for good reason. They’re really not that good. A midseason trade could change that (Tyler Myers?).

 

Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton looked more like Dead-monton last season. They ranked last in the league in goals against and 24th in goals for. These aren’t the kind of stats that you want to see from a team that had a top five draft pick in four out of the last five years. Benoit Pouliot and Teddy Purcell age huge additions, yes, but will it change the landscape of the team? I’m not so sure about that one. Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle will take over the first line, with Leon Draisaitl and Nail Yakupov taking the second line alongside Pouliot. The defense isn’t really worth mentioning, but Justin Schultz and Andrew Ference will lead the back line. A goalie dilemma is inevitable as Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth will take the duties. The pair isn’t stellar and could help in leading to their downfall.

 

Los Angeles Kings
The champs are back! The Kings come off of a magical season that was capped off by a goal from Alec Martinez in overtime to win the Stanley Cup. This year they’ll look to defend their title and it’ll have to begin with the offense. The addition of Marian Gaborik at the trade deadline proved to be the move that the Kings needed to send them over the top and into a deep journey through the playoffs. Kings Captain Dustin Brown will lead the offensive unit, which includes Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar, in trying to put the puck in the net. After watching the offensive attack in the playoffs, it should come as a surprise that the Kings ranked 26th in the NHL in goals per game in the regular season. However, they led the league in goals against average. That’s what carried them last season to the playoffs. Led by Drew Doughty, the defense will look to stop the rest of the league from scoring. Plus, it helps when you have arguably the best goalie in the NHL playing for your team. Jonathan Quick is just that and comes off of a year in which he finished fifth in goals against average and finished second in the league in shutouts. It’ll be a tough task, but the Kings can still be considered as royalty in the NHL.
Jonathan Quick is one of the league's top goaltenders (Via AP)

Jonathan Quick is one of the league’s top goaltenders (Via AP)

 

San Jose Sharks
Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau remain with the team for now, but could be on their way out via trades at any point this season. The Sharks would like to trade both sooner rather than later, as tensions will mount each game that the pair is not traded. While they are still in San Jose, the two veterans will be able to teach second year player Tomas Hertl, along with the 25 year old Logan Couture, who still can learn a lot. The team lost Dan Boyle to the Rangers, and the top line now has Marc Edouard Vlasic paired with Justin Braun. Brent Burns is another notable name on the defensive end, a season after scoring 22 goals. In goal, Alex Stalock is going to push Antti Niemi to the brink for starts. Expect a heavy timeshare between the two.

 

Vancouver Canucks
Oh Vancouver. A few years ago, this team was at the top of the West. Now they’re a team that missed the playoffs last season. Well can they get back there the season? Willie Desjardins comes in as the new head coach, replacing John Tortorella. The big addition to the club comes in goal, after the Canucks added goaltender Ryan Miller. Miller will have Alexander Edler and Chris Tanev as the first defensive unit protecting him. The Ryan Kessler trade to Anaheim sent back Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa, who will certainly contribute. The Sedin brothers come off of their worst season in a decade, and will look to return to the dominance that we’ve previously seen from them. Everyone should take notice of Radim Vrbata. The 33 year old will sit on the Sedin line and that should put him in the scoring sheet on a regular basis. This season will be a journey, but one that might end with the Canucks back in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

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2014 Stanley Cup Preview

By Brett Malamud

The puck drops in Los Angeles tonight as the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings will battle it out for all the marbles. It should be a great series, as both teams deserve to be there. After missing out on the finals berth last year, the Kings return to hockey’s biggest stage for the second time in three years. At the same time, the Rangers return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1994.

 

The Goalies

An interesting matchup to say the least, the series will feature two of the top goalies in the league going head to head. Henrik Lundqvist has stood on his head, making some pretty acrobatic stops these playoffs. If it weren’t for him, the Rangers would probably not be playing in this series. With a 2.03 goals against average, he has carried them the distance and hopes to continue that over the coming games. On the other side of the rink is Jonathan Quick, who will look to capture his second Stanley Cup. He’s had quite the experience in net, and that should help as he has been playing well this playoffs.

Edge: Rangers

Henrik Lundqvist must be on his game for the Rangers to take home their first cup in 20 years (Via ISN)

Henrik Lundqvist must be on his game for the Rangers to take home their first cup in 20 years (Via ISN)

 

The Defense

Defense should be a huge part of this series. The Kings can score in a blink of an eye, and the Rangers…well let’s just say they can thank the opponent’s lack of defense for a handful of their goals during the playoffs. The Rangers shot blocking may be the storyline going into this one. Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Ryan McDonagh have led the charge on that front. The Rangers did a good job holding down PK Subban, but it’ll be interesting to see how they do with the quicker Jake Muzzin and Drew Doughty.

Edge: Kings

 

The Offense

Well not a lot of debate here. The Kings average 3.48 goals per game. The Rangers average 2.70. The Kings scored 28 goals in their seven-game Western Conference Finals series. The Rangers scored 19 goals in their six-game Eastern Conference Finals series. It’ll be interesting to see Marian Gaborik this series. The former Rangers forward leads all playoffs scorers with 12 goals. Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams will all play a major role as well. For the Rangers, the newly acquired Martin St. Louis leads the way, as well as Rick Nash, who hasn’t done much this postseason

Edge: Kings

 

Verdict

At the end of the day, the Kings are the better team. Don’t think that the Rangers will go down easy though.

Prediction: Kings in 6


Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy