Bobby and I just finished recording the podcast, so stay tuned for that very shortly.
In the meantime, what a game, what a series! To get the factual out of the way the Kings just moved on to the second round by defeating the Vancouver Canucks in game 5, on their ice, off Jarrett Stoll’s overtime winner just 4:27 after regulation had ended. Brad Richardson scored the tying goal in the third period of the very tight game, marked by both teams boxing out the front of their nets with vigor and great goaltending on both sides… Sort of… More on Cory Schneider in a moment.
The role players got the job done for the Kings. Trevor Lewis, who was my number 1 star for the game, knocked everyone he touched off the puck and was everywhere, including all over Dan Hamhuis, forcing the turnover that led to Stoll’s breakaway and perfect goal. That was the Stoll we’ve been waiting for, the one who went something like 9 for 10 in shootouts last year. His laser past Schneider’s blocker to the top corner on the short side was a thing of absolute beauty. A shot that sent my heart through my eyeballs. Wherever that Stoll has been matters not, as that Stoll was right where needed to be.
A final word on Schneider. I’m not all that impressed. Vancouver’s commitment to defense is what changed when Luongo got the axe from Vigneault. Luongo, in fact, had to and did make much tougher saves in games 1 and 2 than Schneider has to in the final 3. Aside from being almost as ugly as the Sedin twins, clearly the long lost member of an unholy trinity,Scheinder is a positionally sound, large goalie who saw most of the deadliest chances from the Kings be sent wide. As is sometimes said begrudgingly of Quick, Cory was claiming accolades that were best put on the shoulders of his teammates, helped along by the Kings not being a very good offensive team, which despite our series win, is still a truth.
Overall the Kings played a solid game, though they often found themselves in trouble, particularly during the first period. Willie Mitchell and Jonathan Quick were the story of the first two periods, as without the Herculean efforts of those two, we’d be talking about game 6. Henrik Sedin may have scored a goal in the first period, off two consecutive gaffes by Matt Greene, but the uglier and dizzier Sedin did not score the goal that would have mattered. In the second period Daniel found himself on a clean breakaway from center ice in on Quick. Jonathan made the stop and from that moment on, in my head the game was over. History only need play itself out. This was our game, our time and gosh darn, the billboards are right, the time is no other time, it is now.
The Kings will play the St. Louis Blues in what I predict will be this season’s most exciting series. We’ll get into the matchup in the next day or two, what the Kings need to work on (*cough* breakouts *congested, bloody cough*) and what to fear or fancy about the West’s second best regular season team. For now, just enjoy, as I know you are, and enjoy the podcast coming up in 3… 2…
But finally, in Judaism, of which I pretend to be a part, there is a closing prayer called the Mourner’s Kaddish. It is a prayer said for those who have passed, though the prayer itself has no mention of death. It is a long prayer, so we say only a piece here with the Vancouver Canucks in our minds, whose hockey season has died, their fans’ aspirations along with it.
May there be abundant wins from hockey gods, and life, for us
and for all of Los Angeles; and say, Amen.