If the Los Angeles Kings send the Vancouver Canucks packing on Wednesday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10 p.m. ET) from the Stanley Cup playoffs, it won’t come as a surprise to Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau.
In fact, Boudreau picked the No. 8 Kings to knock off the Western Conference's top-seeded Canucks, who have won the Presidents’ Trophy the last two seasons.
Boudreau’s prediction stems from playing the two teams several times this season. Hired by Anaheim in December after the team let go of longtime coach Randy Carlyle, Boudreau got a first-hand look at both the Canucks and Kings for the better part of the regular season.
Under Boudreau, the Ducks were 1-2-1 against the Kings, and 2-1-1 versus Vancouver.
"I picked L.A. to beat Vancouver from Day 1 in that series. To me that’s not surprising," Boudreau told CBCSports.ca. "I just thought they [the Kings] were the more physically complete and deeper team. I thought Jonathan Quick was as good a goalie as any in the league."
Quick quick in stopping Canucks
Quick has only allowed four goals in three games, has turned aside 111 of 115 shots, and shut out out Vancouver 1-0 in Game 3 on Sunday during an impressive 41-save performance.
He has continually frustrated the Canucks by not allowing many rebounds, something Boudreau saw plenty of times in the four games he has seen the Kings' goalie up close from behind the Anaheim bench.
"We’ve seen him play a lot," he said. "I just thought he was a really great goaltender...he did some amazing things. When he’s fine, he’s on. I can’t say the same about [Vancouver goaltender Roberto] Luongo because he’s been tremendous, and sometimes he’s not."
After the Canucks dropped their first two games at home against the Kings by identical 4-2 scores, coach Alain Vigneault made the decision to replace Luongo with Cory Schneider, who was solid in Game 3 in stopping 19 of 20 shots.
While the Schneider remains the Canucks' starting goalie for Wednesday night, Boudreau defends Vigneault’s decision to make the switch, even in the face of some minor criticism.
"Alain knows his team way more than anybody that’s sitting out there, watching and talking saying, ‘I’d do this and I’d do that,’ because they have no idea the real reasons why he did what he did," Boudreau said. "You have to give him 100 per cent [backing] that he knows what he’s doing. He’s a really good coach.
"I laugh at all these people that are Monday morning quarterbacks where they guess and they don’t have a clue what’s going on in the real situation."