It’s a 7 game series for a reason. Unfortunately that reason appears to be to stress the hell out of me.
It was a maddening return to the playoffs for the Kings, a helter-skelter game that saw momentum shift on a dime. The first period wasn’t the best for the Kings as Vancouver drastically out shot the visitors. Despite the large differential in shots, it didn’t appear to be a runaway for the Canucks and they Kings escaped an even 0-0.
The Kings started off the second period with the powerplay and made good on it to take an early lead. Jarret Stoll whipped a wrister over Luongo’s shoulder to put the Kings up 1-0. The Canucks didn’t take long to come back though, tallying the next 2 goals. The first was a rebound goal by Mikael Samuelsson on the powerplay, and the second was a give-an-go fast break by Daniel Sedin that the Kings had no answer for.
The Kings would strike back after Andrew Alberts was given a 5 minute major penalty for murdering Brad Richardson into the glass. On the powerplay, Brown and Frolov would cycle the puck out front to Modin who sent a one-timer past Luongo. Unfortunately the Kings couldn’t tally more than once on the 5 minute major and period 2 would end in a tie.
The third period was all Canucks as the home team would outshoot the Kings 13-2. (thirteen to two!!!!) However the Kings would manage to escape into overtime without giving up the game-winner.
Overtime may well have been the most exciting 8+ minutes of the game as the two clubs traded chances. The Kings best chance was thwarted as Luongo saved a puck that was halfway over the goal line. The goal likely would have been waved off after going off of Jack Johnson’s skate.
However, it was a lazy pass from Randy Jones that led to the Kings getting trapped in their own zone for an extended period of time, trying to survive waves of the Canucks attack before Samuelsson would tally again to win the game. Sigh.
What do we take away from this? (And so you know, I’m going to spin this all positively):
1. Playoff virginity is gone for the Kings. Say goodbye to the nerves and just play the game. Now that the young guys have a taste for the playoffs, they’ll know what game they need to bring. That game is their A+++ game.
2. The Kings hung in here with an incredibly tough opponent and forced overtime. This was not a blowout, it was not a landslide, it was a hard fought battle that they lost.
3. Quick was himself again! The kid showed up in a BIG way, stopping 41 of 44 shots, a save percentage of .932. So if any of the Kings skaters were worried about him in goal, they can forget about it.
It’s the first game of a series and the Kings can adjust and get back to it. They faceoff again on Saturday night, 7pm PT.
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney