Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cup Semifinalists Look Familiar

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cup Semifinalists Look Familiar

Article excerpt

There will be a lot of familiar faces in the NHL's Final Four. The remaining teams, Chicago and Los Angeles in the Western Conference, Boston and Pittsburgh in the East are the last four Stanley Cup winners. And the semifinals start this afternoon in Chicago then continue tonight in Pittsburgh.

For all the difficulties they endured along the way, the Chicago Blackhawks and the defending champion Los Angeles Kings still are standing. They might want to buckle up, though. The ride could get even wilder.

The Blackhawks and Kings are poised for what could be a tight and lengthy Western Conference finals, with Game 1 at the today in Chicago. The Kings already have more playoff losses than they did a year ago when they went on a 16-4 run through the postseason to capture the Stanley Cup as an eighth seed.

"I cited critical moments last year," Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said. "There were several of them this year where they were severely tested. They keep finding a way to fight through, as they've done at times during the playoffs. "

The Blackhawks?

All they did was rally from a 3-1 deficit to beat Detroit in the conference semifinals, taking Game 7 by 2-1 on Brent Seabrook's overtime goal to remain in the hunt for their second title in four years.

"You don't draw it up, you don't plan to win a seven-game series coming back from 3-1," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "Looking back, I think it is a good thing for our team to have gone through what we just went through, to kind of be pushed to the end, for a moment (to) feel like that was it. You have certain negative thoughts that kind of creep in. You try not to think about them, that you're up against a tough team and the odds are against you.

"But we stayed positive. We stuck with it. We just had that attitude that you take it one shift at the same time, you win one game at a time, anything can happen. …

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