Anaheim vs. Los Angeles
Season series: Anaheim, 4-0-1.
Difference makers: C Ryan Getzlaf and RW Corey Perry, each of whom had seven points in Round 1 against Dallas, give Anaheim one of the NHL's most lethal forward combinations. Getzlaf, though, likely will find himself pitted against Kings C Anze Kopitar, a defensive stalwart who has at least one point in each of his past 10 games. Getzlaf, Perry and some skilled teammates also will have to figure a way to beat Kings G Jonathan Quick. He allowed 16 goals in the first three games against San Jose, but just five during the final four and was the primary reason Los Angeles became the fourth team in NHL history to rebound from a 3-0 deficit and win a best-of-seven series.
Special teams: Anaheim scored on seven of 26 tries (26.9 percent) with the extra man against the Stars and its penalty-killing was nearly as good, giving up three goals on 29 Dallas opportunities (89.7 percent efficiency). The Kings' penalty-kill numbers (28 for 32) look pretty good at first blush and even better on closer inspection because the Sharks went 0 for 15 on the power play in Games 5-7. Los Angeles' power play rebounded from a slow start, too, converting six of 20 tries in the last five games after being shut out in the first two.
Noteworthy: This is the first playoff series between these franchises, whose home cities are separated by 25 or so miles. ... Four of the five regular-season meetings were decided by one goal. ... The Ducks went 3-0 in one-goal games in Round 1. ... It isn't clear whether Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau will turn to Frederik Andersen or Jonas Hiller in goal. ... Kings RW Dustin Brown had 40 first-round hits, most of anyone still in the playoffs. ... Los Angeles D Drew Doughty tied the Penguins' Sidney Crosby for the opening-round lead in giveaways with 10. ... Former Penguin Ben Lovejoy has become an integral part of Anaheim's defense, logging just over 19½ minutes of playing time per game. ... Kopitar is the first player since Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk in 2011 to record a point in all seven games of a series.
Who will win: Kings in seven.
Chicago vs. Minnesota
Season series: Wild, 3-1-1.
Difference makers: Chicago captain Jonathan Toews isn't just one of the finest two-way forwards in hockey; he's clutch. Toews scored three goals against St. Louis in the opening round, and all were winners. That would be a healthy total for a season for most guys. Minnesota spent a lot of money to lure free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter back to their home state in 2012, and finally is being rewarded for it. Parise had at least one point in each of the first six games of Round 1 against Colorado and Suter earned four points while logging just under 30 minutes of ice time per game.
Special teams: Chicago had the league's most efficient penalty-killing in Round 1, allowing just two goals in 29 short-handed situations. The Blackhawks' power play was surprisingly mediocre, though, going 3 for 20. Although Chicago has the potential to get on a roll with the man-advantage, that won't be easy against the Wild; Minnesota gave up just three goals in 25 short-handed situations to a highly skilled Avalanche power play. Good thing, too, because Minnesota capitalized on just three of its 21 power plays against Colorado.
Noteworthy: Chicago ran off four consecutive victories after spotting St. Louis a 2-0 lead in Round 1. ... Minnesota staged perhaps the biggest upset, rallying from a 3-2 deficit in the series and winning Game 7 on Nino Niederreiter's overtime goal in Denver. ... LW Patrick Sharp, who led Chicago with 34 goals in the regular season, scored just once against the Blues. ... Blackhawks D Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked a league-high 26 shots in the opening round. ... Minnesota LW Matt Cooke, suspended for seven games after kneeing Colorado D Tyson Barrie in Round 1, will be eligible to return in Game 4. ... How's this for a diversified offense? No fewer than 12 Blackhawks got at least one goal against the Blues. ... Chicago eliminated the Wild in five games during Round 1 in 2013.
Who will win: Blackhawks in six.