LA Kings: Would They Prefer to Play the Coyotes or the Predators?

Everyone, I am sure, is still digesting yesterday's series sweep of the St. Louis Blues by the LA Kings, but it's never to soon to look ahead to the next round.

Tonight the Nashville Predators and the Phoenix Coyotes meet in what could be a decisive game five for the Coyotes.

But who do the Kings want to play? Do they want Phoenix to win? Or do they want Nashville to make a comeback?

It's a tough choice in all honesty, and at this point it really doesn't matter. All match ups are difficult in their own way. But let's look at some basic things.


This one is a real toss-up. Rinne played great all year for the Preds, as did Mike Smith, and both have done very well in the playoffs.

It's all about style differences. Rinne is a big guy (6'5") and plays very calmly. However, he played three games against the Kings this season, was 1-2 and had two very tough outings, giving up nine goals in just over 50 shots.

Mike Smith is also a big guy (6'4"), but plays a style more athletic then Rinne and very similar to that of Jonathan Quick. Smith has the much better series numbers against the Kings compared to Rinne. He went 3-1-1 and had just two games where he dropped below a .950 save percentage.

Again, it's a toss up. Smith historically has been better against the Kings this season, but at this point in the playoffs, if both guys are on their game it doesn't make a difference.


Don't let the predisposed opinion of the Predators of the past fool you—this was one of the best offensive teams in hockey. They finished eighth overall in team offense and had the best power play in the league. 

However, Nashville has been completely stymied by defense-first teams like Phoenix and the Kings. The Preds have a score-by-committee mentality, with nine players over 15 goals, including defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Kings