Yea so even without the help of Kings favorite player Andrew Alberts, the homecoming was huge. Playing to an more-than-sold-out crowd, the Kings treated the fans to a spectacular showing in the first home playoff game since 2002. It was an impressive performance, and after falling behind by 1 goal, the Kings rattled off four consecutive goals. The Canucks made it 4-2 with a Samuelsson goal near the end of the 2nd period and cut the lead to one early in the 3rd period. Fortunately Smyth slapped home another goal to give the Kings a 5-3 lead, which held up to completion.
After the four consecutive goals in the 2nd period, the Roberto Luongo was pulled from goal and the Canucks went with backup Raycroft. He acquitted himself well, but didn’t face a whole lot in the way of pressure, only seeing 7 shots for the duration of the game.
Here are my five thoughts on the game:
- Kings Power Play – Wow. 3 for 3? That’s pretty much, no wait, actually perfect. The Kings are now 7 for 12 in the series, an absurdly high percentage of 58.3%. If the power play keeps clicking at that pace, this could be a quick out for the Canucks.
- Drew Doughty/Jack Johnson – The way Johnson is playing I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a legitimate Norris Trophy candidate in the future. Of course Doughty already IS a Norris Trophy candidate, so I guess there’s still a small gap. Nonetheless, both players are proving that they can pick their game up in big games, and that can only be a huge asset.
- Michal Handzus – A spectacular showing. With the exception of one heart-stopping pass through the center that almost allowed the Canucks to tie up the game, Handzus played like a demon possessed tonight. Netting two goals and an assist, he’s been playing a lock down defensive game, and contributing heavily on the lethal power play.
- Slow Starts – The Kings got away with one this time, but damn if this pattern of giving up an early goal (or two) doesn’t come back and bite them in the ass. If they manage to get by the Canucks, and indeed in ORDER to get by the Canucks, this pattern is going to have to stop. If the Kings played like we saw in the 2nd period, they can hang with (and beat) any team in the league. This is the inconsistency we’ve been seeing all season, and the Kings need to rise above it now.
- Kings Penalty Kill – Another strong spot. I thought about combining this with the power play from above, but frankly it’s been impressive enough to justify its own “thought.” The Kings killed all four penalties in this game, and did a very good job of making important kills at the important times. Obviously Quick has played a big role in the effort, but the killers need some credit as well.