Western Conference

Western Conference Round 2 begins on Friday


Hours before the first of three Eastern Conference Game 7s was set to begin, the NHL announced its plans for the West.

The Round 2 series between Phoenix and Nashville will begin on Friday, followed by the commencement of St. Louis-Los Angeles on Saturday.

Here’s the rundown in full:

No. 3 Phoenix Coyotes vs. No. 4 Nashville Predators

Game 1: Friday, Apr. 27 at Phoenix
Game 2: Sunday, Apr. 29 at Phoenix
Game 3: Wednesday, May 2 at Nashville
Game 4: Friday, May 4 at Nashville

No. 2 St. Louis Blues at No. 8 Los Angeles Kings

Game 1: Saturday, Apr. 28 at St. Louis
Game 2: Monday, Apr. 30 at St. Louis
Game 3: Thursday, May 3 at L.A.
Game 4: Sunday, May 6 at L.A.


— The Blues and Predators will have the longest layoffs (seven days). The Kings will have six days off between games, the Coyotes four.

— Much like in the first round, scheduling Kings games at the Staples Center is a difficult task. The NBA playoffs begin on Apr. 28 with the Lakers and Clippers both angling for home-court advantage in the first round.

— The complete Eastern and Western Conference Semifinals schedule, including start times and television information, will be released after the New York-Ottawa and Florida-New Jersey games Thursday night.

L.A. coach Sutter on playoff race: “There ain’t no weak sisters”


You can’t blame Kings coach Darryl Sutter for lacking answers right now.

His team — currently in ninth place with 72 points — is right in the thick of a Western Conference playoff chase that includes seventh-place Dallas (75 points), eighth-place San Jose (73), 10th-place Colorado (72) and 11th-place Calgary (70).

So when LA Kings Insider asked Sutter who he was cheering for prior to Sunday’s Stars-Flames matchup, Sutter responded accordingly:

“Can they both get nothing?’’

Unfortunately, the answer was an emphatic no. The Stars won 3-2 in a shootout, meaning both got points out of the deal — proving the race is tighter than ever, teams are fighting hard to stay live and nobody seems to be dropping out.

“There ain’t no weak sisters,” Sutter explained. “You try to take care of your own, and get a little help. A better way to look at it is, it’s better to get it down to three or four teams.

“That’s probably a better way of looking at it.’’

Comparatively speaking, this year’s Western Conference chase is on par with last season’s:

Mar. 5, 2012                      Mar. 5, 2011

7. Dallas (75)                     7. Calgary (77)
8. San Jose (73)                8. L.A. (76)
9. L.A (72)                         9. Anaheim (75)
10. Colorado (72)               10. Nashville (75)
11. Calgary (70)                 11. Minnesota (74)

And, if you’ll recall, things got pretty wild down the stretch. Chicago plummeted to eighth (Dallas, in sixth place on Mar. 5, fell out entirely) while Anaheim surged into fourth, Nashville into fifth and LA to seventh. Calgary fell to 10th.