April 24, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) makes a save in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Kings: 16 Teams, 1 Cup

The Kings begin their quest to win the Stanley Cup in back to back seasons. if they are successful, they will be the first team to accomplish this feat since the 90s. Thoughts of riding down Figueroa in fire trucks, holding the Stanley Cup high above as fans cheer on; taking the Cup to a Hermosa Beach Bar the night of winning the Cup; taking it home to visit their families fuel this team. And these thoughts stoke the fire of almost every other team as well.

The defending Stanley Cup Champs don’t look much different than they did last year. They are missing WIllie Mitchell at the blue line as they have all season, Matt Greene is questionable with a back injury, they’ve added Robyn Regehr and Keaton Ellerby in trades, moved up rookie stud Jake Muzzin from Manchester, and have Kyle Clifford back being a nuisance on the forecheck after missing almost all of the playoffs last year with a concussion suffered in Game 1 against Vancouver.

And they will start facing a familiar foe, in a familiar place: St. Louis on the road. Ken Hitchcock’s team was swept last year, which will fuel them in this first round series. And they still have home ice advantage. If the Kings can get to Brian Elliott early in the series it would be a big boost. But the most important thing for the Kings is if the Conn Smythe winner shows up. He has played his best hockey of the season in the last 2 weeks. And if Jonathan Quick is the player the Kings know he can be, this will be a deep playoff run.

Tags: Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup Playoffs

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