- Associated Press - Friday, April 27, 2012

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Two long-time have-not franchises that took off after switching coaches midseason are among the last eight standing in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues and Darryl Sutter of the Los Angeles Kings both have top-shelf goaltending and the two stingiest defenses overall. Both teams dispatched of their first-round opponents in five games, too.

That leaves plenty of time to prepare for Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday night.

The second-seeded Blues hadn’t won a playoff game since 2004 before this spring. They’re coming off their first series win since 2002, and are the top seed remaining in the conference. That’s thanks to the Kings, who knocked off the President’s Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks for their first series win in 11 years.


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