I’m a pretty happy guy. The Kings are three wins away from a second Stanley Cup in who-gives-a-fuck-how-many years, it’s a second Stanley Cup.
I’m a pretty lucky guy. I have been to 14 out of 22 playoffs games so far and by the time the Kings have played twice in New York, will have been to 16 out of 25. You do the math, I have stomach lining to make ready for large amounts of amazing pizza.
The Kings are a good team.
The Rangers are a good team.
The Kings are a better team.
All I’ve heard about over the last three days is the Rangers’ speed. After every pundit, broadcaster and writer commented on how fast the Rangers are, I then heard Pierre McGuire say on the radio that not enough has been made of the Rangers speed. And yet, I haven’t heard so much as a peep about the Kings’ ugliness. Come on, Clifford, King and sorry to say, beady-eyed Toffoli, there is just as much big time ugly on the Kings as there is big time speed on the Rangers. Surprisingly, no one seems to talking about it. Weird.
OK fine, the Rangers have some players like Hagelin, Kreider and Pouliot with nuclear reactors baked into their skates. Forgive me for finding myself only mildly concerned. That pony has one trick and smells like glue.
The Kings began this game playing the game they played against the Blackhawks but with tired legs – one-on-one moves, every player looking to make the big play, trading chances. It worked against the Hawks, an intensely strong possession team that looks to hang onto the puck as much as possible. New York is a different animal with better pizza, scruffier hipsters and more trash on the streets. The Rags play a game of “chip and pray”. They do not look to possess and control loose pucks, they look to chip them past onrushing players and pray their speed can get them a scoring chance. Outside of a few sloppy, Anaheim-styled garbage cycles in the first period, the Rangers could not muster any semblance of an offense that wasn’t immediately derived from pressuring a King man-on-man through the neutral zone or roaming high against their own blue line when the Kings cycled the puck to their defensemen.
This was an effective style against:
1) The Philadelphia Run-Amok-A-Schmucks.
2) The Pittsburgh Crosby, Malkin And Then Nones.
3) The Montreal Oops We Dove Agains
I give the Rangers full credit. Lundqvist is an insanely good goalie and has long been one of my favorites. Derek Stepan is an exciting young player in this league. Hagelin, Kreider, McDonagh – fun players to watch. Brad Richards was interesting for about 117 games in his career. Rick Nash was awesome as an overgrown fish in a midget pond. Martin St. Louis will go down as one of the most memorable players to skate NHL ice in about 47 weeks when he shrivels up into 3 foot tall mound of old man grey penis hair. The Kings can not take this group of Rag Tags (is that a compliment or an insult for the “Rags”? I’m not sure) lightly or they will get burned.
However, against Darryl “Fuck You For Asking Me A Question” Sutter’s Los Angeles Kings, their stingy defense, explosive offense, unspeakably mind-boggling resilience and ability to make adjusts on the fly, the Rangers have an uphill battle to climb that does not have the accustomed steel-gated elevator to ride. Once the Kings identified their opponent after a first period in which they were out-skated and forced into some stupid decisions with the puck, the clamps were squeezed and the Rangers were almost entirely incapable of converting anything other than one of their “chip and pray” plays into sustained pressure or a skillfully manufactured scoring chance.
Once again, I want to stress, the Kings do not have an easy opponent.
The series gets interesting from here and the Kings, as they have with every passing game in the 2014 playoffs, need to find ways to be better. So while the overtime win is sweet in so many ways, the Kings are off to nothing more than a start.
GO KINGS GO
Categories: L.A. Kings Game Reports