Unfortunately, its true what they say about not being able to win them all.
I’ll keep this short, like my fuse at the moment.
If you want to know about the scoring sheet and such, I encourage you to see the NHL.com recap. They have lots of pretty box scores, names and numbers. They will tell you who the Kings lost to and by how much. I will only tell you why.
I said that the Kings needed to play their game and not the Sharks. They didn’t listen. They played the Sharks high tempo game all game long and got exposed over and over and over again. We can not play that fancy pass through the middle game. We aren’t built to be deadly off the rush. We are built to grind, and wear down, and cycle until the opposing goalie is begging for a goal against just to get the stoppage in play.
Poor defense was the story of the night. Turnovers were the subplot. Goaltending was the red herring.
Bernier was outplayed by Niittymaki, but I refuse to fault a goaltender for not stopping pucks shot from the slot that he can not see. I refuse to blame the goaltender for not stopping pucks that come off the sticks of unchecked forwards directly in front of him, even less those which come immediately after good passing plays. Do we want big saves from Bernier? Of course. Timely saves, even better.
But a timely save is when a goalie makes a critical save to keep a lead, or stops a great chance that came in the midst of domination by his own team. There was no time for timely saves tonight. The Kings were turning the puck over left and right. They collapsed in on themselves instead of on the slot. They could not manage their offensive blueline. These are the reasons we lost. Not Bernier. Bernier would have had to have played the best game of Quick’s career to win tonight. We want stellar goaltending, but you need to be able to win with good goaltending and to win with less than good goaltending. A sloppy game like this may go down as a W against a weak team, but play that way against a team as talented as the Sharks and you will sink every time.
All of Joe Thornton’s playoff chokes combined could not have snuffed the life out the Sharks that the Kings breathed into them.
I am highly surprised that Justin Williams did not score. I am highly disappointed that Terry Murray did not ask his team to calm things down. He even said at the beginning of the third period that the Kings needed to keep the pace up.
The Kings needed to sit back but not back off. Playing a high speed game against a team with more forward skill leads to backing off. Playing a tight checking game against that kind of team leads to frustration on the part of your opponent and transitions and cycles in your favor.
Terry Murray’s best guess was the demote Scott Parse in the third period. No doubt Scooter deserved it. Though he walks away with his first goal of the season, he does so on the heels of his worst game of his young season. Scott was spastic, could not hold on to the puck, and coughed it up in the middle of the ice almost every time he touched it the first two periods. Murray then dropped Parse to the fourth line, promoted Clifford to the third and Richardson to the second. Later Handzus played on Kopitar’s left wing.
None of it mattered. The lines were not the problem. The pace and style was the problem.
To thine own game be true.
Nonetheless, the term always and forever would lose all meaning tonight if I didn’t adamantly say,
GO KINGS GO!
… on Wednesday.