Game 1 was a case of the powerplays.
Game 2 was a case of the penalty kills.
And by golly geez, both games have been a case of straight-laced domination.
Dustin Brown has been absolutely out of his mind in this series, we’re even talking a notch above his trade-deadline turnaround, which saw him pump out eight goals and 15 assists – a hefty 23 points in the final 21 games of the regular season. Thus far in the postseason, only two games in, Dustin Brown is rolling deep with three goals and an assist on his eye-catching total of 13 shots on net.
And those fools didn’t even know it hit twine.
Special results: Like mentioned above, the first two games of this series have been heavily determined by the special teams game, the Kings capitalizing in this form in both contests, but in opposite ways. Of course, you know the Kings played off of Vancouver’s barrage of penalties in Game 1 – recording two of their four goals on the man-advantage.
The Kings would score another four goals in Game 2, and they didn’t just go tally-ho on the man-advantage (Strollsy!), but on the penalty kill as well, notching two shorthanded goals – both off the stick of Dustin Brown. Both the cause of turnovers, which stems to the ferocious defense they’ve been playing in the series. They’re not even backing off with their defensive, or offensive pressure on the penalty kill, which is a golden sign.
Ryan Kesler has been getting dogged in this series, from getting nixed in his matchup with Mike Richards, to getting outright beat by Dustin Brown on an offensive zone turnover that would lead to Brown’s second goal last night.
Hustle and good flow
I truly began to realize that Jonathan Quick must be the focus of contract negotiations next season, there’s no way you let this guy explore options outside of Los Angeles. He was downright stunning last night, yet again. If the Vancouver Canucks did one thing last night, they upped their intensity in the offensive zone, peppering Jonathan Quick with 48 shots. Quick stopped 46 of them, once again stunning Rogers Arena with his unbelievably balanced positioning and poise.
When you watch a shot directed at Quick, you either wait for the whistle, or look to follow the ricochet of the rebound. There are few instances in which you actually feel any tension, and that’s a gift you don’t get from watching a goaltender very often, if at all.
How bad did you want Andrei Loktionov to bury his 2nd period scoring chance? The Russian barely missed out on some playoff-debut glory, giving a bit too high of an angle to his close-range top-shelf bid. This, again, stemming from a Vancouver turnover. Do you sniff a trend here?
Loktionov should get another opportunity to connect Sunday night after his very respectable performance on Friday. Kyle Clifford and Brad Richardson are still on ‘red cross’ status, they’re tabbed to stay home for one more game at the least. Richardson, who skated today just five days after surgery, has had his Mom by his side in helping him in recovering.
I hope she’s like this lady
If home ice was nice: You hate to say it, but the Kings have shown their rough edges at Staples Center in postseason play the previous two years. In 2010 against the Vancouver Canucks, the Kings went 1-2 at the Stape, losing one in regulation, and one in OT. In 2011 against the San Jose Sharks, the Kings posted a donut on home ice, going without a win in LA with an 0-3 record – two regulation losses, one in OT.
That’s a 1-5 record at Staples Center in postseason play the past two years.
You’re learning new things as this series plays itself out, such as realizing how much pressure the Vancouver Canucks are playing under as opposed to the Kings. Amounting to pressure was a problem for this team the past two seasons, desperate to feed a fanbase that is, well, desperate. Not so much now, especially as the 8th seed, while playing the NHL‘s best. Not to mention, this is the Kings’ third consecutive playoff appearance, so the jitters have been toned down a bit.
The Kings fared better at home (22-14-5) than they did on the road (18-13-10) this seasons, albeit just barely. The big factor here is continuing to play like they did in Vancouver, and take as little consideration into playing in front of home fans as much as possible.
What’s better, a quiet Rogers Arena, or some of that Staples’ train-horn? You’ve got me.
What it comes down to is winning, regardless of the venue. And there’s only one way to accomplish that…
Squish the competition. Hey, it works for Dustin Brown