May 1st, 2013
The game looked like it was in the bag. The Kings were on a 4 minute power play in sudden death overtime, and Jonathan Quick gave the puck away, and the game. So the Kings are down 1-0 to the Blues in their best of seven 1st round series. Did the Kings really deserve to win though? Probably not.
No matter how much respect the Kings were saying they had for the Blues, they were well aware of the fact they have owned them for the past year, and had been beating them into the ground. Daryl Sutter even said “a handful of guys” weren’t ready for the physical beating the Blues put on the Kings early. I think he really meant that Jake Muzzin and Keaton Ellerby didn’t expect to get their asses kicked as badly as they did. The Blues were obviously tired of the Kings pushing them around, and that’s why they dominated the first two periods of play.
So a fiercely determined Blues team gave the Kings their best shot, and it resulted in a 2-1 win for St. Louis in overtime, which they were fortunate to win. Yes, the Kings could have devastated the Blues by stealing game 1. But if this is the Blues best shot, the Kings can easily take this series.
Jonathan Quick made 40 saves, and looked pretty close to the guy who dominated last spring. The only goal he gave up in regulation was a power play goal, in which he made a spectacular initial first save on. Quick also showed us that he was mentally tough last spring, bouncing back from any soft goals he allowed and carried the Kings at key moments. No reason to think he can’t bounce back here.
This isn’t to say the Kings don’t have anything to worry about. They’ll need Matt Green’s physical presence back in the lineup, and they’ll have to get a much stronger forecheck going earlier in the game to wear down the Blues. They’ll also need to get Kopitar and their other big guns going, but LA has far more talent up front than the Blues. If the Kings come out and match the Blues physicality on Thursday night, no reason to think they can’t tie this series up before heading back to LA this weekend.