We’ll have to make it a short post today, but there are certainly a few things worth mentioning as we gear up for the match tonight. The Kings will look to take a 3-1 lead in the series back to Vancouver, making this a key game to be sure. A win puts the Kings in control of series with a commanding lead. It also preserves their established “home-ice advantage” that they acquired when they beat Vancouver in Vancouver. A loss makes the series 2-2 and returns that advantage to the Canucks. It’s clear that this will be a crucial game for the Kings, and one that will be a delight to watch for all involved (except fans of the losing team). Here are some things to think about for this game:
- How will Roberto Luongo bounce back in this game? After being yanked from the last game, and giving up 12 goals in his last two games at Staples Center, he clearly does NOT have a feel for this arena. Nonetheless, he’s one of the better keepers in the league, and one would expect that he bounces back from those showings. If he turns it on, he could be a puzzle for the Kings to beat, and would put a dent in their special teams too.
- Speaking special teams, can the Kings keep it up? Of course a better than 50% conversion rate on the power play probably won’t stick. But continuing the strong play with the man advantage is key if the Kings are going to win tomorrow. The Canucks will obviously be trying to play disciplined hockey, but they’ll almost certainly take a couple penalties. The Kings have to make them pay for their mistakes.
- Will the Kings be able to maintain strong forechecking during the 5 on 5? The Kings haven’t been great in this situation, but getting some constant, strong forechecking will help open up some space on the ice, relieve some pressure on Quick and the defense, as well as draw some penalties. It’s vital that the Kings get some quick pressure up the ice, and take the body tomorrow if the Kings want to return to Vancouver up two games.
- Can Handzus, Richardson and Fredrick Modin continue to contain the Sedins? The last two wins the answer seems to have been yes. In game one, the answer was not so much. Their ability to keep the Sedin brothers off the scoreboard will be essential if the Kings want to bring home the W.
- Will my presence at the game jinx the team? God I hope not. I’ve not had a chance to go to as many games this year as I would have liked, but the Kings haven’t played terribly well in the ones I did attend. Hopefully this one breaks the streak. It’s the first playoff match I’ve ever been able to attend (being in college during the last playoff run meant cash was tighter) and I’m excited to see the Kings bring home a win. I’ll be in Section 108 if anyone wants to flag me down.
That’s all for now. Hope everyone will be enjoying the game. The Kings certainly can win this game, and if they build off their previous two wins, it could be a very exciting and special night. Think the Kings will win tonight? Are you sticking with your original prediction for the result? Or are you revising your estimate? Go Kings!