KORAB Grit Numbers: Kings-Sharks Games 4 & 5

Welcome back to the KORAB grit numbers for the Kings-Sharks games.  Today we will feature the numbers from Games 4 and 5, the two games the Kings won.

For the numbers from Games 2 and 3, click here.

For a refresher on KORAB grit numbers, and a look at Game 1, click here.

On the dawning of a pivotal Game 6, we will look at who is carrying their respective teams, and what has caused the recent two game slide of the Sharks.  We will also delve into the lack of tenacity out of the some players that should be carrying the load for their respective teams.  That said, the motto of the past two games: some men are born leaders, and some men are destined to disappoint.

Kings Game 4 KORAB:

g4 k

Kings series KORAB:

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The youth has been the key to this series, and Game 4 was no different.  Tanner Pearson carried his weight in just his second game of the series, and out toughed the competition.  Clifford, likewise, showed a load of guts racking up 14 penalty minutes and was the aggressor on the ice.  As a result, he saw his overall KORAB improve.  Brown returns to the first line and promptly returns to the pace he set in the 2012 playoffs.  The Kings got just what they needed out of their captain, and he was eventually rewarded with a goal.

One phenomenon comes in the way of Jarret Stoll.  This guy has played an emotional, hard-nosed series, but was especially notable in Game 4 with five hits.  His KORAB actually went down, though, as there appears to be some level of regression despite his tough play.  Despite this drop in his overall KORAB, it’s still one of the highest of the series.  It’s obvious Stoll wants to be on the ice and do everything to help the team, which has been helpful against the character guys at the bottom six for the Sharks.

Sharks Game 4 KORAB:

g4 s Sharks series KORAB:

g1234 sHere is where Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau’s lack of hustle starts to play into the Sharks downfall.  Torres, Sheppard, and Brown had good showings again, but as we discussed previously, they were not gritty enough to cover for the lack of courage from the top line skill players.

One look at younger guys like Hertl and the upstart Vlasic, though, and we see how this team was able to grind out two periods of decent hockey.

If we look at previous games, inconsistencies start to occur among the defensive players.  They invest more effort in some games than in others.  The Sharks cannot to afford do this with Niemi’s shaky play as of late.

Kings Game 5 KORAB:

g5 k

Kings series KORAB:

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Two words: Jarret Stoll.  Two more words: Kyle Clifford.  These guys are carrying the shit out of the mail for this team, getting to the dirty areas, throwing their weight around, and just being an all-around nuisance for the Sharks.  It’s a physical game, and they are proving it.  This is playoff hockey!  Measure their beards, because I bet they grew an extra inch after that game!

In contrast to the Sharks inconsistencies, overall the Kings played a well-rounded, desperate game in a hostile environment on the brink of elimination.  Adversity shows the true character of a man.  This is the Kings team the league has seen all year.  It’s so fun to watch these guys care so much and get rewarded with a team win.

Sharks Game 5 KORAB:

g5 s

Sharks series KORAB:

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A return to the same narratives: Unbalanced grittiness, and the play of the youth.

First, the grit imbalance.  Brown, Sheppard, and Torres have another hardy game.  Yet, Thornton, again, fails to show up in a big game situation.  Sharks fans have to be disappointed with his style of play when it has not worked so many time before.  Thornton needs to throw his weight around and be a team guy for once, otherwise this series will easily return to SAP Center for another huge game.

Second, the youth:  Couture has a strong game, and Vlasic really started to play like a man on fire the past two games.  Now Vlasic is hurt, and Hertl looked ineffective offensively despite his improved KORAB.  Who is going to shoulder the load in Game 6?  The clock is ticking, and it might strike Thornton o’clock sooner rather than later.

The Sharks played a strong team game in Game 5, but did not get the offense out of the cutesy, flimsy, finesse players that they got in the first four games.  As the series continues, it will be interesting to see if guys like Torres, Sheppard, and Brown will start to feel the drain of a long series and begin to regress.  Typically hockey players will sacrifice their body for as long as it takes, but how much can a man take when their leaders refuse to play like men?

Either way, Game 6 should be a fun, physical battle!  And there DEFINITELY will not be anyone taking off their warmup jerseys and leaving them at center ice.  Hockey players are selfless, TEAM players, unlike players in other sports.

Flubber McGee is TRH's resident Kansas City correspondent, and has survived as a Kings fan long before the dawn of Internet streaming sites. He has seen the Kings win exactly zero non-exhibition games in person. Have you ever achieved enlightenment? Flubber has, because he once witnessed Kevin and Brett Westgarth fight in, and get kicked out of, the same game (they didn't fight each other, unfortunately). In addition to being a part of TRH, Flubber runs a Kansas City hockey blog. It's exactly what you think it is. You can follow Flubber McGee on Twitter @FlubberMcGee.