Where Was The Killer Instinct In The Third Period?

I slept well last night. Our boys won. They broke the 5 game losing streak. They scored 4 goals. That first period was a gem. The Predators gave us opportunities on the powerplay and we finally buried it. Failing to score on that 5 on 3 (luckily we did just as the Predators were getting a player back) could have changed the game’s momentum. In hockey, it’s not the opportunities that matter but rather capitalizing on said opportunities…a little like life. The second period was ok. We took the foot off the gas but still played a good period.

This article is about the third period.

We had 2 shots at even strength and 2 shots on the powerplay. Nashville had 14 shots on goal, 8 of which were within the Scoring Chance Zone.

Forget shots for a moment. Your eyes told you how the stats read. We played defense that entire period. We played to protect the lead.

We, in large part, went into a shell. We were fortunate Jonathan Bernier played well, especially his rebound control, and our defense didn’t allow too many second chances. But, this was the Nashville Predators. We weren’t playing an offensively gifted team (I recognize that 27 other team in the league are statistically more offensively gifted 5 on 5 than we are).

Why would the Kings play to protect the lead? Why wouldn’t they play the same game that got them the lead? This smells like Terry Murray. This reeks of a change between periods through instruction.

Nothing should have changed. I can understand playing a defensive game when there are a few minutes left in the game with a 2 goal lead and there is no reason to take chances but an entire period, especially when you know the other team is going to come at you hard?

That killer instinct, the one that cost us the playoff series against San Jose, the one that cost us the playoff series against Vancouver, the one that we have lacked for years is still present. When we take a 4-2 lead into a third period, we, like any offensively talented team (skill set, not system), must press forward and keep the defenders on their heels. Force THEM to make turnovers through an aggressive forecheck on both ends of the ice. Do not sit back, allow zone entries without resistance and rely on your defense and goalie to keep the lead. Don’t change a damn thing. Attack. It’s how you got there.

This bothers me.

It bothered me this morning and is still eating at me.

We should consider ourselves fortunate we played the Predators. That crap may not hold up against a better offensive team.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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17 replies

  1. I can tell you since you were not there… it was Boring on top of all that you said..
    I could only think they were trying to get Bernier his first win..
    Were these Murray’s instructions.. just play not to let them score?
    Frustating to watch esp when the third goal goes in..
    One thing I noticed was Nashville tried and sometimes succeed at driving thru
    the center.. we need to be 100% on them to stop that.
    And I would love to see some offensive forchecking.. that is something we
    seemed to have lost over the last few years.. bring it back
    GO KINGS GO!!!

  2. … The Kings got a win against a team just as good (if not better) than they are. It wasn’t a surprise to see that team fight in the third period to even the game up. I don’t see where this would eat at you. Sometimes, good teams have good periods.

    That first period was a gem.

    … Huh??? The first period ended up tied. The second period won them the game, and the period where the Kings had every element of their game working most efficiently, and where the Predators seemed to struggle the most. That’s probably why Nashville had such a good third – rebounding from a bad period to post a good one.

    • Of course you always Have to consider and credit the play of the opposition.

      I didn’t watch the game But its pretty clear Bobby’s gripe is with the play of the Kings, because he views that as a direct action, whereas you are taking a reactionary approach based off the play of the Predators. I prefer the approach where you take the game to the opponent, not react to how the opponent plays. Its a subtle But important difference in perspective.

      • I prefer the approach where you take the game to the opponent, not react to how the opponent plays.

        … Obviously, that’s the ideal, but there are times when the opposition’s going to play so well that the team’s going to lose some of that initiative. Not only that, playing aggressively with a lead can result in counterattacks and outnumbered rushes.

        Playing with a defensive mindset while up two goals is easy to criticize, but there’s always the possibility of the team that’s trailing to miss a detail or make a mistake in their haste to even the score – and I think that’s what the Kings were looking for in the third last night, but Nashville just played really well without losing their focus. The Predators do a fine job of playing as a team and they don’t lose much switching from line to line.

        There’s no perfect way to play with a lead, especially when playing a good team.

        That killer instinct, the one that cost us the playoff series against San Jose, the one that cost us the playoff series against Vancouver

        It bothers me to see statements like this. The Kings lost in the playoffs the past two seasons for many reasons. Sometimes, the Kings were too aggressive out there, and it cost them. Other times, they weren’t aggressive enough. Other times, they simply got beat because they were up against a better team and got outplayed by that team. I didn’t see a lack of killer instinct, I saw a lack of experience and of maturity, as well as a lack of leadership. I saw a lack of mental toughness at times, which led to a lack of focus.

        • yes Dutch that was a better way to put it.. lack of experience/maturity vs lack of killer instinct.. because we know the Kings wanted it.. and I felt their helplessness as things
          sliped away from them.. as a fan and not a player I can only be so critical.. I do not wear their skates..
          GO KINGS GO !!!

        • “Sometimes, the Kings were too aggressive out there, and it cost them. Other times, they weren’t aggressive enough. Other times, they simply got beat because they were up against a better team and got outplayed by that team. I didn’t see a lack of killer instinct, I saw a lack of experience and of maturity, as well as a lack of leadership. I saw a lack of mental toughness at times, which led to a lack of focus.”

          Yes totally agree. It’s like driving a race car you can’t always floor it or you’ll crash. Two years now and getting shown the door after round 1, hopefully they’ve learned how to drive that race car like a champ not a chump.

    • I kinda agree that we sat back too soon. I wouldn’t say Nashville rebounded in the third so much as we gave everything but home plate.

      The first period was great, for awhile. Then another huge letdown.

  3. It’s been bothering me too. I was not able to enjoy the win last night, at all. I am so cynical, and it’s been affecting my mood all day. Why couldn’t I be happy we won? Mainly because of that 3rd period. Watching the way this team, which we all know is better than this, play in a defensive shell for a whole period pissed me off. I am glad you wrote about this Bobby, I mean, I knew I couldn’t be alone feeling the way I did about last nights game, but its always good to know there are others out there.

  4. I can dig your frustration but imo it’s a fine line. I would say every NHL team when behind will try and do whatever it takes to get back into the game somehow with the exception of the Kings unfortunately. When the Kings were down, they really didn’t do much to try and climb back. That means pinching in rather than backing off even if it means an odd man rush the other way. You have to gamble. Even if that means pulling your goalie with 3 min left to try and cut down a 2 goal deficit. If they score fuck it, we’re losing anyways might as well go down swinging.

    I was more curious to see if the Kings could actually hold the lead. And they almost blew it. Remember the now infamous SJ comeback from 4-0? To me the team is showing that maturity to be able to hold leads. Playing tight D when necessary and then rushing when the opportunity is there because it will be if the other team is being overly aggressive. This is encouraging because down the road as this team, hopefully starts clicking on a regular basis, there will be those 4-6 goal games against a team like SJ, Vancouver, Caps, Flyers, etc. where you know they will come at you strong to try and get back into it.

    • You remind me of Andy Murray years.

      • Andy Murray has a nutsack unlike the Murray behind the bench now. :D

        • You mean the guy that told the Islanders they only winning because they’re not playing for anything, refused to shake the Sharks hands, and told Kings fans to go fuck themselves for booing amongst other things, has no balls?
          I beg to differ.

          • Those all have nothing to do with the game on the ice.

          • The booing I didn’t take as a fuck you. I took it as he got his little feelings hurt because the fans booed him and his squad for playing like a lower level beer league team. Tough love as I know it.

            Many comments on how it’s never right to boo the team but I beg to differ. “Tough crowd” is the expression I’ve heard and why should LA fans be anything but?

          • Also, not shaking the Sharks hands…wtf was that all about? To me that was pussy. Maybe he knew that he was the butt of the Shark’s locker room jokes and just couldn’t face em.

  5. Oh please, how many coaches are there that do the exact same thing. It’s wrong but nothing new. Predators played with more desperation, that’s all.

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