Kukla's Korner Hockey
Down 0-2 as they head to Los Angeles.
Scoring has become a problem and they 0-for on the power play this series too.
The Kings on the other hand, just need to keep doing what they have been. Don’t get too fancy or think you have the game won before hitting the ice.
Watch the highlights of the 5-2 win tonight.
Discuss both game in the comments if you’d like. I say this is more of a must win game for the Blues than the Capitals, since a loss would drop the Blues to 0-2 with both being home losses.
from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
* If Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo can play in Game 2, which now seems possible, it will be a terrific triumph for the Blues, and an uplifting development in this series. If Petro can play, the Kings would have failed in the attempt to rub him out. And the Blues will have regained the services of their best all-around player. More than that, this comes down to a matter of right and wrong. The NHL has lost its moral compass, allowing predators to pick off the sports’ most skilled players—with only the occasional, meaningful punishment. And that’s so wrong on so many levels, it makes you sick. Well, if Pietrangelo can make it back, it’s a small victory for the good guys. The kids like Petro who are the youngest, brightest and best that this sport has to offer.
* Think about this, however: with the NHL looking the other way and allowing Dwight King to get away with his attempt to take Pietrangelo out, what do the Kings have planned if Pietrangelo returns? He may be vulnerable. You don’t think they’re talking about that on the LA side today? Please.
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
While St. Louis was flying around them, the Kings’ players repeated the same talking points that have pushed them this far. Keep working hard. Keep finishing checks, and believe at some point it’s going to turn.
It’s one thing to say it, but these Kings now truly believe it. Captain Dustin Brown said these seeds of confidence were planted during a stretch of home games in mid-March. The Kings beat the Red Wings. They doubled up the Predators. They crushed the Sharks and found a way to beat the Blues 1-0 in a shootout. A Los Angeles team that should have been good all season started to realize it really was.
For Quick, the team confidence grew even more when the Kings found a way to make the playoffs down the stretch, earning crucial point after crucial point until they finally clinched a spot.
Then came a first-round series win against the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Canucks, and the Kings’ confidence is now entrenched.
“What it comes down to is aside from hard work, talent, skill and determination, it’s just a belief. A belief in yourself,” said Dustin Penner, whose fantastic pass to Slava Voynov set up the Kings’ first goal of the game. “It’s a belief in your teammates and a belief in the system you’re playing. Just knowing you’re going to get that huge save, that big block and timely goal—just believing that.”
Dwight King received 2 for boarding for this hit on Alex Pietrangelo who did not return to the game.
The LA Kings continued to play a tight, defensive game and it lead to a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues tonight.
Defenseman Matt Greene had the game-winning goal, as he joined Dustin Brown on a shorthanded rush and was left alone in front of the next after the original shot was stopped by Brian Elliott.
added 10:23pm, Watch the Greene goal below, this time Chris Cuthbert of TSN with the call.
I am looking forward to both games today.
Washington has a little more offensive firepower than the Rangers but the Capitals could be shut down by the defense of New York.
To me, the key to the series is Marian Gaborik, how he goes, the Rangers go.
Kings/Blues may be the most physical series of the Conference Semi-Finals. A lot of big bodies on the ice for both teams, this should be a seven game series.
Key to this series is the goaltending of Quick.
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
If the players thought the atmosphere ramped up in Round 1, it will only intensify now that the field has been whittled down to four teams in the Western Conference and four in the Eastern Conference.
“You wake up this morning and there are 22 teams out and there are eight in ... that’s significant,” said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who has been in the second round six times in his coaching career, winning one Stanley Cup. “That’s a lot of teams out, a lot of good teams are not playing. Especially in the West, I’m sure all four teams think this is the best chance we might ever have to get to the finals. When you get down to eight teams, it really boils down to who wants to play and who wants to play the longest.
“I’ve always said the first two rounds are the best two rounds because you’re the freshest, you’re the healthiest. I believe the third and fourth rounds become survival for both teams. But I think these first two rounds are the best two rounds, period. The hockey in this round will be even better than the first round.”
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
If ever an NHL playoff series should be sponsored by Starbucks, it surely would be the one featuring the Kings and the Blues.
The bar was set when they didn’t score in their last meeting, on March 22, needing four rounds of a shootout to decide the issue. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter joked the other day that without a shootout they might still be playing that game.
Game 1 is tonight in St. Louis and the fear of multiple overtimes is well-founded, keeping in mind the defensive prowess of the teams and the considerable talents of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, a Vezina Trophy finalist, and his Blues’ counterpart, Brian Elliott.
Purists embrace the absence of the shootout when it comes to playoffs. Even some purists, however, embrace the concept of sleep, which may be in short supply after Kings-Blues games.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The busiest man in professional sport this past week was Lee Zeidman and when you learn his job description, you’ll know why. Zeidman is senior vice president and general manager of the Staples Centre in Los Angeles and it fell to him to handle the perfect scheduling storm: Three professional sports teams, all tenants in the same building, trying to figure out a playoff schedule that would keep all the interested parties happy.
Many sports facilities across the United States and Canada share space between NHL and NBA teams – Chicago, with the Bulls and Blackhawks, Toronto with the Maple Leafs and Raptors, New York with the Knicks and Rangers, Boston with the Celtics and Bruins – but L.A. is the only city with three teams operating in the same building, the NHL’s Kings plus the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers.
Usually, it isn’t an issue. The Clippers have been an NBA also-ran for much of their existence and the Kings have only made the playoffs in three of the past nine seasons. This year, they’re all in and the Kings are through to the second round for the first time since 2001.
In an era when the needs of competing television networks often trump all, it made for some complicated negotiations, and they were right down to the wire.
continued plus other NHL topics…
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