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(Jonathan Hayward)
(Jonathan Hayward)

Tonight's watch list Add to ...









Canucks v. Kings



Game 1



Western Conference quarterfinal







Vancouver







1. Roberto Luongo. It's the elephant in the room. He was very good in Saturday's season finale against Calgary, but has been hooked four times since the Olympics. Mostly, he has been in excellent in his playoff career. But he's also mixed in some poorly-timed stinkers. This would qualify as a poorly-timed stinker.







2. The D. Every check Sami Salo takes. Every Shane O'Brien penalty. Every time Kevin Bieksa stickhandles near his own crease. Every time Andrew Alberts is caught flat-footed. There are some weaknesses along the blue line, and the Canucks can't afford to have them exposed early in this postseason.







Los Angeles







1. Anze Kopitar. He's a brilliant offensive player, but many brilliant offensive players have looked ordinary in their first postseason. Want to see if this big Slovenian has the fortitude to fight through the physical and emotional demands when the going gets tough.







2. Dustin Brown. He's the King most likely to set the tone, and there's no doubt that L.A. has to set a tone. The Crowns can't come into Vancouver, play the role of counter puncher, and let the Sedins dictate style. Captain Brown is a physical forechecker and an antagonist. Here's betting he takes the first opportunity to run Salo through the end boards. Just to see how the fragile Finn holds up.

Follow on Twitter: @mattsekeres

 

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