If you read anything I write over on Get Higher, you’ll see in today’s post that I officially claim the award for worst blogger this week. Unfortunately, life takes over sometimes. So here, I’ll talk about briefly the Kings last three games (all wins) and then move on to discuss their chances in the second round.
Sometimes, real life takes over and there’s no way to avoid it. So, apologies from me for getting this up a day late. Hopefully these ridiculous tweets will make up for it!
The Los Angeles Kings won the third game of their first round series against the St. Louis Blues. Jonathan Quick pitched his first shutout of the playoffs, and the skaters in front of him scored the one goal necessary to earn the win.
This was yet another physical game between these two teams. It’s not surprising, when one considers that physical play always ramps up during the playoffs, and it’s even less surprising when one considers the hard-nosed hockey style these two teams play on a regular basis. There was only one puck that got past a goaltender in this game, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the goal was the result of some greasy play in the crease. At one point, there were eight players in Brian Elliott’s crease, not including Brian Elliott himself. Elliott sprawled, and tried to snag the puck. It slid just out of his reach and the crowd in front of him thinned almost as quickly as it had formed. As Elliott pulled himself back into a standing position, Slava Voynov fired a puck far post, and Elliott, still stumbling, was unable to grab it. It was one of those tough goals, where the goalie didn’t have a chance to get set, but there wasn’t any direct interference at the moment when the puck crossed the line, so it was an legal goal, if an unfair one.
Obviously this was a big win for the Kings. Had they lost, they would have been down three games to none, and they would have faced elimination for the remainder of the series. Instead, they find themselves down two to one in games. It’s not ideal, but it certainly isn’t the hole they could be facing. I imagine each team is hoping to finish this series in as few games as possible (that will allow them to make it to the next round). There were 92 hits in tonight’s game, and these clubs are only going to dislike each other more and more with each shift.
The St. Louis Blues enjoy winning in dramatic fashion. Tonight’s game was a stronger effort for the LA Kings, but they still found themselves coming up short at the end of the night.
The Los Angeles Kings lost their first game of the postseason to the St. Louis Blues. St. Louis hosted the game (the Kings evidently like playing the underdog, even if this year they found themselves in the fifth seed weather than the eighth). Home ice appeared to be an advantage in this game, as the Blues severely tested goaltender Jonathan Quick, firing over 40 shots on goal. (Definitely not up to the Kings usual defensive standard.)
Alexander Steen scored the first goal of the game about halfway through the first period during a Blues power play. Brian Elliott (the Blues netminder) held onto a shutout for 59.5 minutes, until Justin Williams finally broke through for the Kings. During overtime, while Kevin Shattenkirk was serving a double minor for high sticking, Alexander Steen once more took control of the puck. Seeing an opportunity, he carried it in to the offensive zone shorthanded, and proceeded to score his second goal of the game.
This definitely wasn’t the Kings best game, but I don’t think it was absolutely awful. While they were definitely outperformed in the faceoff circle, they actually had more takeaways as a team than St. Louis (and fewer giveaways).
Now, St. Louis leads the series 1-0. The next game will also be in the Gateway city, but after that the Kings will return hone. While it would certainly be a disadvantage to go down by two games in a playoff series, I don’t think it will absolutely sink the playoff ship for Los Angeles-after all this team is experienced, and they like to do things in dramatic fashion.
1. Alexander Steen- when you score both of your team’s goals, and your team wins, you’ve made a good case for the number one star of the game. When you score the second goal in overtime, shorthanded, you’re a shoe-in for this spot.
2. Jonathan Quick-Had the Kings pulled out a win, Quick would have been the number one star. He made 40 saves on 42 shots. I think this Conn Smythe winner is looking for some more hardware.
3. Brian Elliott-Elliott made 28 saves in his team’s overtime win. Despite a rocky start to the season (and by rocky I mean, rocky like the Rocky Mountains I can see out my bedroom window), but in the month of April he reclaimed his job emphatically.
If they were to hold a draft for hockey analysts and colour commentators, you’d see a goaltender go first. I know you’re thinking “Oh, yes. I could listen to Ilya Bryzgalov talk all day about “space danger” and bears in the forest. He’s just so strange and entertaining.” Let me tell you two things. First, Bryz has nothing on Gilles “Gratoony the Loony” Gratton and second, not while I’m here.
But what is it that makes goalies such standouts as the talkies behind the microphone? The analysts who break down the games for us after we’ve done nothing but curse at the television for two and a half hours? Darren Pang, whose NHL career saw 3 seasons with the Blackhawks (alright, his first season consisted of one game) and 5 seasons of goaltending experience in the IHL and AHL, sums it up nicely and rather simply. Goaltenders “have the ability to see a lot of things from [their playing] position.” [x]
“I think more than anything else, your goalies are pretty much individuals on team sports… We all have different thoughts and we all handle things differently. I don’t think you have to be the best goalie to be an analyst, just the ability to put it across the air and have people understand it better.” [x]
Oh, and he also adds this detail to the mix: “At the end of the day, a lot of us are yapping guys, a lot of us are talkative people and outgoing people.” [x]
Maybe that’s closer to the truth?
Good fights aren’t necessarily always long slug fests that leaves both combatants barely able to stay up on their skates. Sometimes they’re fast and furious. Sometimes one guy makes quick work of the other.
That’s exactly what happened when the Los Angeles Kings hosted the St. Louis Blues earlier this week. It’s been said that every guy has a “go to sleep” button. Clifford definitely found Polak’s button and knocked him out with an uppercut.
There’s a lot of Eric Lindros hockey cards that make you scratch your head. It’s easy to forget that he was kind of a big deal before suffering so many concussions. Whether it was that star power or just a fluke of the 1990s, we’re definitely glad for it.
Oh, goalies. They are a thing of joy forever. Not just because they’re capable of putting their legs behind their heads as a party trick. Because they offer a constant stream of oddness to enjoy year round. Ilya Bryzgalov: Cosmonaut anyone?
Today we get to enjoy some of their strange behavior on cards. Not so much Fleury. That stretch is more impressive than anything else.
Picture it: Nashville, February 4, 2012. The Nashville Predators are visiting the St. Louis Blues. With about 6 and a half minutes left in the second, two heavyweight pugilists drop the gloves.
In one corner is Ryan Reaves at 6’1″ and 225 pounds. In the other is Brian “Big Ern” McGrattan standing at 6’4″ and 235 pounds. What we got was an absolutely gorgeous donnybrook.