Dancing in the Reign: Luongo robs Kings attempt to steal home-ice; Thoughts leading into Game 2
Take a quick look to the left of the screen; If you can bear to. It was that close. That close. But what good would harping on Roberto Luongo‘s last-ditch effort to stop a re-directed shot from the point do? Hard not to, but not necessary; as we saw a very impressive Kings performance. What a great opportunity to steal a game. Today, I don’t find myself quite as upset as I thought I would with a game 1 loss. Truth is, there were many good things to come from the Kings last night. From Jonathan Quick‘s spectacular play, to sound coaching from Terry Murray, you’ve got to believe they can rebound from a tough loss. Below I’ll share a few thoughts on where the Kings stand going into Game 2:
On Jonathan Quick:
The goaltender situation had me worried going into the playoffs. Jonathan Quick looked shaky, flat, fatigued. We had an under-played backup in Erik Ersberg, and thoughts of the playoff goalie shuffle ran through my head. Well, look who showed up last night. Jonathan Quick stood on his head. 41 saves, and cutting off a 1st period Vancouver ambush kept the Kings in the game. Quick will last the entire series, and will be a deciding factor in the result.
On Ryan Smyth:
The Vancouver defense had Smyth on target all night. Playing to keep him away from the front of the net, they took it to him physically. Smyth got handled in the corners all night long, but that’s not his game. If someone on this team wants the Cup, it’s Ryan Smyth. His passion showed in the hits he took last night.
On Who Stood Out:
Randy Jones saw plenty of ice time last night, and played well. He continued to move his feet with the puck, didn’t cough up the puck very often, and played the body. Michal Handzus had an outstanding game. He seemed to be in the vicinity of the puck all night. Leading the Kings in shots, and almost burying a game-winner in overtime, Handzus continues to be reliable. Fredrik Modin didn’t shy away from shooting the puck, and scored a goal in his trademark spot; in front of the net.
On Who Didn’t:
Anze Kopitar was surrounded all night. Vancouver’s defense did an impressive job containing Kopitar, rarely giving him much room with or without the puck. Justin Williams hasn’t looked great since his return from the injury, and failed to contruct any chances on the 1st line. Drew Doughty didn’t disappoint, but may have lost his head a bit. The intensity was good to see, but can’t cross the line to grant a power-play to Vancouver.
On Terry Murray:
Terry Murray coached a solid game last night. He didn’t so much concentrate on the match-ups as he made sure the entire dressed roster got their legs into the game. As much as I was pleased with this, I’m afraid he may hold back in Game 2. A few changes could be made in his strategy now that the Kings are down a game.