The Reports of Our Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated – L.A. Kings Win Game 3
It was a rough day. Coughing, hacking, trying to stay vertical and shake a fever. Taking my normally healthy diet into overdrive and self-medicating, I knew around 4:30 there was no way I was going to make this game, tempted as I was to attend, somehow jump over the glass and into the St. Louis Blues bench and cough and release contagion on anything that wears a musical note on their chest.
Alas, I nestled on the couch, scowl firmly implanted on my brow and watched a game that was about as loopy as my head.
The neutral zone is the battle ground
The St. Louis like to back check and their defensemen close gaps. That is what, in layman terms, gives the impression they’re all over an opposing team. The L.A. Kings play a similar game which is also why, to quote Willie Mitchell from last season’s playoffs, it is like “looking into a mirror.” Where the Blues have the edge so far in this series is their consistency in doing so, whereas the Kings are not getting the same level of push from their forwards. Fortunately, when they do, L.A. has been good on the transition. If we continue to improve our breakouts and get the puck behind their D (a key component to defeating any team that clogs the neutral zone), a sustained forecheck will let us create and maintain the cycle which will then lead…
To the net boys!
The one goal we scored came from a 3 forward attack to the net. Alec Martinez made a great play and Slava Voynov took a shot that still has me wondering what daylight he saw in the moment he released it. But that shot does not come off his stick unless the center and wings commit to the net when the puck ends up there. It is not enough against any good defensive team to play perimeter. Time is wasted. The net is where all of the action is and the L.A. Kings, for the first time, appeared more committed to storming the paint. Such a commitment pays dividends in every facet of the game, both on O and D.
1. It creates second and third opportunities, which are the stuff of playoff goals.
2. It forces the Blues to collapse which in turn opens up the points when the puck is worked free and, therefore, provides shooting lanes.
3. If the Blues recover the puck, it allows an immediate back check, with shorter gaps to close and hinders the Blues’ ability to get out of their zone and on the counter attack.
Carter and Kopitar
“More” is not what I seek. Different is what I want. Anze Kopitar is not trying to get open and he sure as hell is not looking to use that magnificent wrist shot of his. I don’t know if Kopi had a shot on goal tonight. The same applies to Carter. While he, like Anze, plays a terrific two-way game, we are starving for high percentage shots on goal and I look to these two first for the offense. I don’t want more hustle, more effort or more anything. They already bring that. Just want to see Kopitar and Carter looking to get free for a pass, followed by a wicked release that snaps the twine.
I don’t care for cats but if I was one, I would have one less life after watching him stop Leopold from putting it into an empty net.
What a cluster of poor officiating that was.
Pray with Surly
It was good to read Jacob’s pre-game playoff prayer. It took me to the Cup run. Surly must sustain his faith-based fever, as I try to break my virus related one.
Scribe’s Three L.A. Kings Stars
3. Jonathan Quick
2. Slava Voynov
1. Justin Williams
You already know…