The Vancouver Canucks know better.
Securing the third seed in the Western Conference after winning the Northwest Division last week, the Canucks had to wait until the final regular-season game last Sunday to figure out which team they'd be playing in the opening round of the playoffs.
In the end, the Canucks drew the Los Angeles Kings, who ended up with the sixth seed and visit GM Place for the opening game of the Western Conference quarter-final Thursday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10 p.m. ET). Vancouver (49-28-5) finished with 103 points, while the Kings (46-27-9) posted a 101-point season.
The Canucks won the season series 3-1, and Los Angeles last competed in the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2002. But all the team should remember is the 8-3 shellacking it received in California on April 1 as proof it should not take the Kings lightly.
In that game, coach Alain Vigneault watched in horror as goaltender Roberto Luongo allowed eight goals on only 29 shots. More alarming was how brutal the team's defence played, giving Los Angeles forwards Dustin Brown, who scored a hat trick, and Anze Kopitar free reign in the offensive zone.
"Obviously L.A. is a young team and they're really hungry, Canucks forward Alex Burrows told the Vancouver Sun. "They've got a lot of skill players up from and they made some moves at the [trade] deadline so they're a complete team."
Vancouver is no slouch on offence, especially with the newly minted Art Ross Trophy winner Henrik Sedin, who led the NHL with 112 points, on its side.
Sedin enjoyed a breakout season, capped by a four-point effort during the team's 7-3 victory over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night. His night was highlighted by setting up all three of his brother Daniel's goals. Henrik's four assists leapfrogged him over Washington's Alex Ovechkin by three points. The Russian sniper failed to register any points in the team's regular-season finale Sunday against the Boston Bruins.
If the Canucks are to make a run at the Stanley Cup this season, the highly touted line of Burrows and the Sedin twins must play a major role. Luongo will also need to elevate his game. While he did reach the 40-win plateau, Luongo's .913 save percentage ranked 19th in the NHL this season.