The Los Angeles Kings took game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on the shoulders of a hardcore effort. The Kings dominated the majority of the game and managed to tally 3 goals despite a strong performance from Mike Smith. Let’s take a look at some key points from Game 1:
-Smith was on his game but the Kings managed to get traffic to the net and a few breakaway chances. The Kings could have had 2 or 3 more if it weren’t for some bouncing pucks and posts (not bouncing posts, just posts in general).
-Quick let by a bad one from center ice but he regained his composure and was solid the rest of the way out. He didn’t look fantastic on the Coyotes 2nd goal, however it was more of a defensive breakdown than solely Quick’s fault.
-Brown had yet another great game. He brought a perfect combination of chippy and offensive. Brown managed to get under the ‘Yotes skin and perhaps bait a few penalties. However, he’ll have to stay disciplined and watch the retaliatory penalties.
-On that subject, the Kings need to stay disciplined in general. There were just a few too many where the Kings took shots at Coyotes and vice versa. If the ‘Yotes get chippy, the Kings can’t get drawn into a tit for tat game.
-The PK remained crucial for the Kings. The PP remained pitiful. Water is still wet.
-Kopitar’s backhand goal was one of the prettiest things I’ve seen in a long time. Some serious skill.
-Boedker is good. He likes to pull into the offensive zone and stop, then look for a cross ice pass. The ‘Yotes in general seem to like that play. Something to keep an eye on but if the Kings can force the Coyotes into a board battle, their chances look better.
-Shane Doan is going to be a major thorn. He’s very Dustin Brown like but just from the looks of game one he has a shorter fuse. He’ll hit, he’ll score, and if he can’t do those, he’ll try to draw penalties. Once again, discipline will be key.
-Big game from Dwight King. Aside from his 2 goals, he was strong on the forecheck. The Kings forechecking is a huge asset and really disrupts the Coyotes flow. Look for Trevor Lewis to continue to be a pest in this part of the game.
-The confidence Sutter has in this team during pressers is great. He doesn’t show the same sort of frustration Murray tended to show. Makes me wonder how much his outlook affects the players. The confidence he and the players showed in Quick after that first Phoenix goal was great.
Game 2 will be in Phoenix on Tuesday at 6pm 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