They say time heals all wounds.
They may be right, but what doesn’t heal all wounds? A Stanley Cup.
Despite our glorious achievements and the San Jose Sharks distinct lack of them outside of a few meaningless division titles, these losers managed to oust us in the first round two years ago, and for that, they must pay.
This is likely to be quite a different series than the one against the Blues.
First of all, home ice! How cool is that? Bobby doesn’t care how long it’s been since we’ve had home ice, but I do because I’ve never been to a home ice playoff series, as I’m sure many of our fans, more than just the several thousand we picked up last year, have not. Being that no one in the NHL had more home wins than the Kings during the season, it’s a good thing.
San Jose is probably feeling very high and mighty about sweeping the Canucks, but you’ll notice that very few of the story lines from that series centered around the fantastic play of the Sharks. Instead, the hockey world couldn’t talk enough about the disaster that is Vancouver and mostly the massive clusterfuck that is their goalie management. Now, I watched a fair bit of that series, and San Jose did play well, we’ll give them that.
Their offense is where they shine, as always, which has worked so well for them in the past. Their defense, led still by the wide-eyed Dan Boyle (and by wide-eyed I mean his eyes are as far from each other as Logan Couture’s front teeth are from his bottom lip). Their defense is not without talent or size, but Todd McLellan ain’t no Darryl Sutter, neither in his ability to fluster reporters or upset opposing offensive schemes.
Can they handle the war of attrition that Darryl Sutter employs? Do they have an answer to Drew Doughty? Can they withstand the physical onslaught they are about to endure? Will any of this matter when Quick decides he is going to win games all by himself?
Speaking of goaltending, Antii Nemi isn’t terrible, but very few playoff goalies are. Yes he won a Cup, but while we have a Conn Smythe winner who seems to think he can do better this year, Niemi won his Cup the year that made the NHL say “see, you don’t need a great goalie to win the Cup!” Anyway, I have no real segue-way here, so…
The Kings are not playing their best hockey. The offense has been thin and the breakouts less than spectacular. The only Kings I would say played at a consistently high level last round were Justin Williams, Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov and of course, Jonathan Quick. While you may be concerned that the St. Louis Blues gave us all we could handle, and despite winning four games in a row, heavily outplayed us for large swaths of all six games, it is important to note that the Blues were a team built for the playoffs. What they lacked in offensive talent, they made up for in relentless forechecking, quality goaltending and a suffocating system.
The Sharks can provide nowhere near the defensive frustration the Kings overcame in the first round, so I am confident the offensive will come, quickly. Too many Kings went without goals or very few. Lewis, Stoll, Richards, Martinez – these guys will score. It’s not an if, just a when. In fact, I just decided that one of them will score tonight.
The other difference between these two teams? The one that was the ultimate deciding factor in beating the Blues, the same one that we just witnessed propel Boston to the second round with a stunning victory in game 7 over the Maple Leafs: the Kings know how to win.
The Sharks are well versed in losing. Lucky them they got the matchup with the losier losers in the first round. No such luck for them this round.
There is only one giant X factor in this series: Anze Kopitar
Whether Kopi’s poor play in the first round was due to fighting off an injury or vainly searching for warmth during a cold streak will not matter to the end result. He needs to step up his game. If anyone is due for a goal or six, it’s Anze. He snapped his long goalless streak, but he can’t let another one begin. So for this reason, we will add in a prayer for tonight’s game. Say it with me.
Hail Kopi, full of talent,
Your fans are with thee.
Blessed are thou amongst Slovenians,
and blessed is the fruit of thy Slovenienness,
Holy Kopi, first of our centers,
Play for us screamers,
Now, and take us nearer to the hour of our Second Cup.
And for the team, we pray.
Our Kings, these reigning Stanley Cup Champions Kings, who art in the second round of the mother fucking playoffs,
Hallowed be thy game tonight.
Thy Kingdom come if thy wills will be done,
On our ice, because we fucking earned it.
Give us this day our goals, however many are needed,
So that we may forgive ourselves for any flaws in our game.
And in the meantime give these dicks from San Jose a sound slapping.
That we may be led past the second round,
Past these ugly ass Sharks,
Let’s shatter glass and pierce our neighbor’s eardrums. Beat our chests and celebrate crisp passes, crushing blows and dance under flashing red lights.
Let’s go watch some damn Kings playoff hockey.
And go fucking nuts.
GO FUCKING NUTS!
GO KINGS GO!!!
Categories: L.A. Kings News