Monday, April 16, 2012

Kings Round One Playoffs: I Didn't See This Coming!

When I'm wrong, I'm wrong. I'm secure enough to admit it. And boy have I been wrong about the Kings so far in this playoff series.

Most Kings fans, myself included, would have been happy steal ONE win in Vancouver. Grabbing two was the stuff of dreams. After dropping two games at home, no one expected the Vancouver Canucks to come in to Staples Center and just roll over. Their goal would be to turn the tables and do the same thing to the Kings on their own home ice.

On the Kings side of the equation, Staples Center has not been a guaranteed advantage during the regular season. The playoffs haven't been much better in recent memory, so there was no question Game 3 would be critical to proving the first two wins weren't some kind of fluke. Is this Kings team for real? Really for real?

Tonight proved the wisdom of taking one game at a time and not getting too enamored with your own success. The Kings, quite frankly, were NOT good tonight. They spent way too much time in their own zone, took some early penalties and generally had problems sustaining puck possession. The Canucks continued to bring plenty of physicality, and while the Kings didn't lose their composure they had to spend more time and energy than they probably wanted defending themselves.

Alex Burrows is now public enemy number one. Going after Kopitar was shameful.

But successful playoff teams find a way to win in spite of those challenges, and the Kings found a way. Six minutes into the third period, Dustin Brown -- arguably playing the best hockey of his career this season -- did the grunt work in front of the net and scored on a rebound to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. That and 41 stops from a rock solid Jonathan Quick was all it would take to secure the win and put the Kings ahead 3-0 in the series.

Other thoughts from The Queen:

  • Hearing Tim Leiweke's voice talking to a guy behind me and saying, "Hey, have you met Mr. Anschutz?" and turning around to see THE MAN himself was REALLY cool. 
  • The pre-game show was interesting. The fire was neat, although it felt a little New Jersey Devils to me, which isn't necessarily a good thing. I also thought it was odd pulling out an American flag given the majority of our players are Canadian. Why can't the NHL find a way to get rid of the US team vs Canadian team thing? Let's come up with one NHL flag and maybe  everyone will be happy.
  • Will Farrell is sexy and he knows it. So is David Beckham.

  • Yes, Canada really hates the Canucks that much.
  • To everyone that brought a Canucks diving team sign tonight, The Royal Half loves you.

  • It's always fun to chat in Starbucks after the game with a Canucks fan that opens the conversation with "Didn't Dan Cloutier play for you guys too?"
  • Kyle Clifford's playoff beard has a Twitter. My life is now complete.
  • Tanner, thanks for being here in spirit. The playoffs wouldn't be the same without you.

Wednesday is going to be absolutely HUGE! If you can make it to the game, do whatever it takes. This year feels different -- in a VERY good way. The Kings just might make some history and you'll want to be there.


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