TRH RECAP 33: THE PLAYOFF GAME

KINGS 6, BLUES 4

It’s a feeling that all sports fans know well: The sense of hopelessness and disbelief when the team that you support goes down early in the game.

Kings fans know that feeling better than a lot of other sporting franchises, but that pang is largely offset by the two Stanley Cup Championships in three years, and the national recognition that comes with such accolades.

A few years ago, I was that fan, screaming for a call, wishing and hoping that somehow one of those goals would be called back for anything. But last night, as the Blues scored goal after goal in the first 20 minutes of the game, I didn’t feel that desire to throw something heavy across the room. Maybe it’s progress, or maybe it’s just the fact that the Kings really are capable of surmounting such odds.

Nah, I think we’ve all seen enough 1-2 goal outputs to realize that this was nothing but a fluke — albeit a glorious fluke — and that we shouldn’t get used to such nice things as coming back from three-goals-down or Stanley Cup Championships.

TO THE GAME!

This game had all the makings of a (wait for it) playoff matchup. How many times was that uttered during the broadcast? Not a clue; I’m trying to be more positive about our broadcast team so that TRH doesn’t blow-up my house (But seriously they were really bad last night). The fact that the two teams were playing just days after a hard-fought event on Tuesday saw to the scheduling aspect of that comparison, but the outcome of Tuesday’s events really were what set the storyline for Thursday’s matchup in LA. Down 2-0, the Blues came storming back, scoring five unanswered goals (including three from Vladimir Tarasenko) to embarrass the defending champs.

Naturally, the Kings were fired-up for the rematch…so much so that Justin Williams got in a fight! A scrap! Justin Williams! Stick!

AND HE WON! WOW!

Young Justin Williams Wink 2

And then the Kings gave up three goals, bringing the total unanswered goal tally to eight, which isn’t great.

I hate this gif more than you do.

The period ended on a positive note, however, with Marian Gaborik finishing something that was stopped by a brilliant Martin Brodeur (Yeah! THAT Martin Brodeur!) poke check. It was a furious few seconds, but it became apparent that the Kings were really trying to win the game, and not really making a late tanking push for Connor McDavid.

Anze Kopitar fired a nifty wrister passed Brodeur 6:14 into the second to bring the game within “oh my, we can start paying attention again!” levels. Honestly, this was a seriously hard-fought game. There was tons of hitting, and I hate to admit it, but it really did feel like a playoff game. Especially when Marian Gaborik tied the game on the powerplay! I can only imagine what it felt like in the arena–and what the team must have felt on the ice–but when that puck went in, the energy went from palpable to through-the-roof.

That energy was sucked out of STAPLES Center when Jori Lehtera, the Finnish player with the name of a Game of Thrones character that seems to have just showed up in the NHL and started crushing skulls, scored on a seriously weak backhand. It was sad.

A mere 20 seconds into the third period, it became apparent that Gaborik — because he has great taste in music — had wrested control of the iPod in the locker room from whatever Philistine usually controls it. He started banging the Kings pump-up song of record: Black Shuck, and Jonathan Quick got over the terrible goal he had just given up.

And whatever powers that song holds, it certainly must have done something to Jeff Carter, who took a magnificent saucer pass from Kopitar and  put it behind Brodeur. In its home, WHERE IT BELONGS.

This elicited a “F**K YEAH!” from yours truly, who is normally as cool as a cucumber when it comes to watching sporting matches. A few minutes later, the Kings found themselves on the powerplay. They had already scored once on the powerplay, so their quota for the next four games had been fulfilled, but Jake Muzzin didn’t care. He didn’t care one bit.

Muzzin was clearly pissed because he had been absolutely robbed by Brodeur earlier in the game…

So this time, The Snake came-up with a plan to ensure that Brodeur couldn’t stop the puck: he dangled around a fallen defender, waited, waited, waaaaaiiiiited, and fired a wrister top-shelf, short side past Brodeur.

My response prompted my two dogs to leave the room.

At this point in the game, Bob Miller was losing his mind (justifiably so) about the comeback. Patty O’Neal, who took it upon himself to mention how awesome it would be if the Kings were to come back and win no less than 15 times during the chances they gave him to speak, must have been straight-up dancing. Then tragedy struck.

Just after he found the puck in his pants, and gave it back to the linesman, a shot from the red line took a hellacious bounce and completely baffled Brodeur.

Everyone who saw the goal, upon realizing what had just happened, felt awful for Brodeur. Everyone, that is, except the man that shot the puck…

That was really it. Around the time of King’s goal, I became aware that Robyn Regehr, whose name I still cannot spell without looking it up, had left the game at some point, with the ever evocative Upper Body Injury. So, naturally, Drew Doughty played 34:21, but he probably would have done that anyway, given that he’s the best defenseman on the planet.

Random Thoughts

  • Mike Richards has really been playing a strong defensive game of late. He always seems to be in the right spot, and is able to create turnovers that lead to scoring opportunities. Problem is, he’s always paired with guys like Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford, so those scoring opportunities always turn into chances for them to dump and chase.
  • Patrick O’Neal must have been directed by management to be more whimsical.
  • The Kings are 2-0 when Catt Greene shows up on my porch, sits in the kitty bed that he openly despises (not sure how a cat can openly despise anything, especially when it looks like they hate their own existence).
  • The Kings are 1-0 when I drink a Dos Equis tallboy on a Thursday night. They’re also 1-0 when I enjoy some delicious teryaki.

GIF to Get You Ready to See Your Family Members You JUST Saw

That’s Aspiration!

John Siegel is a lunatic who writes about hockey, east coast bias, and content marketing. He rarely takes anything seriously, there's a good chance he's drinking right now. You can follow him on Twitter @JVNSiegel but you probably shouldn’t.