This is quickly becoming a familiar situation.  A top team in the league goes into game 2 with the home ice advantage they worked so tirelessly throughout the season to gain nullified, behind the 8-ball, in desperate need of a win lest they go on the road without a win to their name.  Meanwhile, the Kings enter tonight once again having won the rounds’ first game, but riding not high on a kite of success but rather focused and intent towards improving upon their last performance.

If you expect anything less than a ferocious game by the St. Louis Blues, then you must learn to respect opponents.  If you are concerned about that, you need be absolved of fear.  Let the Blues bring their best, we can handle it.  Their best is their defenses’ best, their goaltender’s best.  Our defense is more suffocating, our goaltender superior.  The Blues can not dazzle us with skill, nor us bewilder them with finesse.  The spoils of the war of attrition go to the one with stronger roots.

Richards and Carter are heating up.  Pockets of air dance beneath the surface and tonight I see them bursting through the milky film which has clouded their games.  Drew Doughty is become the force on defense his talents demand, the offense will follow.  Anze Kopitar will stymy, withstand and penetrate.  Dustin Penner has looked down his own road less traveled, one more foot now to be placed in front of the last.

The Kings will make no lineup changes.

The Blues will supplant Chris Stewart with Matt D’Agostini, a move designed to invigorate by way of denying ice time to a disappointment.  It is unclear whether Alex Pietrangelo will play.  I hope he does.  A Blues team that loses at their best flies not highly to Los Angeles, but covers the distance hurtling towards the hard ground below with the terror of a sputtering engine.

The Kings must play patient.  They must not look for plays that are not there, lanes that do not exist.  Quick decisions on defense and through the neutral zone, big bodies gruffly planted on offense.   Sow up the box tightly, do not chase, clear the front of the net with vigor and treat every 50/50 puck like the Cup depends on it.  These things they must do.

We must watch, cheer and pray.

In the name of the Captain, the Son of Philly and the Holy Goalie.

Amen.

Bless us Oh Hockey Gods, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through LA Kings, Our Team. Amen.

Blessed are You, Kings our Team and Team of our fathers, Team of Dionne, Team of Luc and Team of Gretzky, the great, mighty and awesome Team, exalted Team, who bestows bountiful goals, who creates all wins, who remembers the insanity of the fans, and who, in love, brings a redeemer to their fans’ children, for the sake of Our Kings.

Peace be upon no St. Louis fan, without mercy or blessing of Kings.

I pray to the wunderkind, the play-maker, destroyer of all cap space, the enemy of forwards, of great brilliance, the descendent of Orr and of Borque, the one who shines like the Dewey flower.

I invoke and call upon thee O Father Mitchell,
Lord of long stick, Master of all lanes and gaps.
I invite you to the blue line;
Defend it, sustain it, make it home.

Our Kings, who art now in St. Louis
Hallowed be thy game.
Thy kingdom come, thy wills be done
On their ice as it was on Vancouver’s.
Give us this day our daily goals, and forgive no Blue their transgressions,
As we pound into submission those who trespass against us.
And lead us past the second round,
Past these evil Blues fucks.
Amen.

Hail Kopi, full of grace, the fans are with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst players and blessed are the fruit of thy skills, goals.
Holy Kopi, dominant of centers, play for us sinners,
Now until the hour of our Cup.
A-fucking-men.

Go fucking nuts.

GO FUCKING NUTS!

GO KINGS!!!