Last night was maybe the most painful single Kings game I have seen since the game 2 loss to the Montreal Canadians in the 1993 Stanley Cup Final. Being up 4-0 and completely collapsing to the point that they ended up losing a 6-5 overtime game against the Sharks, when they had a chance of grabbing a series lead was… well… painful. Anyone watching the game can surely empathize with the sheer up and down roller coaster of emotions that come from scoring two goals in the first 3 minutes, and watching the lead dissolve over the course of the 2nd period.
That said, there are several thoughts that occurred to me both during, and following the game:
- Kyle Clifford, Brad Richardson and Wayne Simmonds are the hardest working players in the NHL. Those three guys seem to be everywhere, and when the line is on the ice you can almost see the Sharks players thoughts, “damn it… these guys again?!”
- Sharks goaltending sucks. Seriously, it wasn’t great in the first game, though Niemi made some good saves in that one, but since then it’s been terrible. The Kings need to take advantage of that. One thing is sure, Sharks fans are going to be seriously Ant(t)i-Niemi if these performances continue.
- In direct comparison, Jonathan Quick has played incredibly well. Sure, he gave up 6 goals last game, but the first two were fantastic, and frankly on the 6 goals he did give up… it would be hard to pin the responsibility on Quick himself. The team let him down, and since Quick has shown a strong ability to bounce back with incredible performances, we could be in for a show tomorrow night.
- With 25 face off wins out of 64 attempts, the Kings are dropping the ball on that front. Sure the Sharks are good on the faceoff, but Stoll and Handzus should be able to hold their own. Stoll had a t .476 faceoff percentage, winning 10 out of 21. Handzus? You don’t want to know (1 out of 15)
- Drew Doughty needs to stop trying to do so much, and get back to the solid defensive play that we’ve all seen from him. A few stellar defensive plays aside, Doughty did not do what was asked of him. Namely, stem the bleeding and keep the Sharks from climbing back into the game. A -3 rating isn’t a tell-all, but it’s not exactly the kind of numbers we need to see from our #1 defender.
- Why is Westgarth playing? Seriously, the dude is probably perfectly nice, but he’s not going to be a contributor in this series. Yea I know, he got an assist last night, but he played 5 shifts in 3 periods… less than 2:30 on the ice. He’s barely even there, get him out of there.
- Where is Moller? He played a full 10:33 in game 2 and was a contributing factor. Sure he wasn’t dominating the ice, be he gives the Kings another forward to roll out there, and Westgarth well… doesn’t. Suit up Moller and call it a day.
- Let’s not get too down. Remember last season? The Kings had a 2-1 series lead then too, and followed it up with three straight losses. Maybe it’s our turn to teach the Sharks how that feels. Here’s to winning game 4!
Topics: Antti Niemi, Brad Richardson, Drew Doughty, Jarrett Stoll, Jonathan Quick, Kevin Westgarth, Kyle Clifford, Los Angeles Kings, Michael Handzus, Montreal Canadians, Oscar Moller, San Jose Sharks, Wayne Simmonds