PETBUGS PLAYOFF PREVIEW: Happy Days Are Here Again
Ok, not sure how I got roped into doing this…oh yeah. I felt bad about mailing it in for the last edition of the Pacific War Room.
But really, can you blame me? I mean, after the season the Canucks had, the last thing I needed was to spend my weekend writing about their sputter to the finish line. Oh yeah, it probably comes as a shock to you Kings fans that they’ve actually been playing hockey since October.
Anyway, here we are. The blogger version of community service.
Looking at this series from an outsider’s perspective, it looks like a classic matchup of the unstoppable force up against the immovable object. At least as experienced by the Vancouver Canucks in recent years. Playing the Sharks just meant getting steamrolled by their offence, while going up against the Kings was not unlike repeatedly banging your head against a brick wall.
Hmmm, now that I think about it, that last bit was probably just Dustin Brown.
The point is, both of these teams are quite good in their own special way and it will be interesting to see just which one comes out on top. They are so good, in fact, that many are lamenting the fact they’re facing each other in the first round. To which I say, suck it up. I’d rather have a great matchup every round than watch good teams roll over weak opposition. You know, like over in the Leastern Conference. Or the Canucks’ season.
Actually, I do want to go back to your loveable Canucks for sec. I put some thought into just why they had so much trouble with Kings this year, and I think I finally figured it out:
But I digress.
This series is going to come down to whether the highly effective Kings’ defensive system and goaltending can withstand the Sharks’ offensive onslaught. And Quick is going to be key to that. Here’s a guy that has put up some mediocre numbers during the regular season, but really seems to turn it up a notch in the playoffs. Some might call that clutch, I call it a lack of consistency:
I mean, every year when the playoffs roll around you hear about guys that come up clutch when the pressure increases, but really, if you’re elevating your game for the post-season, what the heck were you doing the rest of the year, you slacker?
That being said, there is one instance where that kind of sporadic scoring doesn’t get called “clutch” and it depends on where you’re from:
So, you can expect to hear Gaborik called enigmatic, while Mike Richards is clutch.
But realistically, the only real clutch we’ll see on the ice is all the clutching and grabbing in the neutral zone. But at the end of the day, that’s how the Kings need to play the Sharks. The goal should be to clog up passing lanes, not give the Sharks space to create. A low event, grinding series will play to the Kings’ strength. Whether they can maintain the discipline necessary to walk that line while staying out of the penalty box and keep the Sharks’s power play off the ice, will largely determine the end result.