Dancing in the Reign: The Day Before Tomorrow
And it very well could be the last. The season’s life-span is in heavy threat, the Kings’ second consecutive postseason appearance is hanging by a thread. The Kings have officially struck “must-win” status heading into tonight’s contest at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. The Kings are facing a 3-1 series deficit, in which three consecutive victories will be needed to advance past the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Right now, it’s one game at a time, one win at a time. That’s the way the Kings must approach Game 5 tonight. Simple mindset, stick to the system, and for the love of god – show some f*cking life in the defensive zone coverage scheme.
And the manager ain’t in, either.
You look for any positive outlook on the Kings’ situation, and I’d have to say it’s getting back on the road. For whatever reason, this team isn’t the same at Staples Center. In the first two games in San Jose, the Kings allowed just 3 goals combined, and left the Bay area with a win to their name. Back to Los Angeles, friendly confines, right? In two games, 12 goals allowed, two losses, and a gut-check at the door. All of the pressure is on the Sharks in front of their home fans, even tonight. They’ve got some of the most miserably hungry playoff hockey fans in the league, I mean they’ve been tortured with postseason failure. For the Sharks, tonight is a chance to push the underdog to the side, a team without it’s top player, hanging by a thread as elimination looms. Why does this setting sound somewhat good for the Kings?
One More Ride on the Carousel
“So Terry, what astonishingly terrible, senseless, and downright laughable line changes will we be seeing for Game 5?”
He had me at Dustin Penner and Kevin Westgarth…playing together. Wow.
In all seriousness, I’m quite perplexed with Terry Murray‘s line-shuffling, and that’s nothing new from a personal standpoint. Tonight, you’re looking for a roster that can provide the absolute best last-ditch effort possible. You’re looking for scoring touch, speed, and players who can create and/or finish on scoring opportunity. So with that, Terry scratches Alexei Ponikarovsky and Oscar Moller in favor of dressing Kevin Westgarth and Dustin Penner on the fourth line. Not just that, but Jarret Stoll is centering these two. Immediately you’re hampering Stoll’s value, face-offs aside. Maybe Penner takes off the rental skates for a pair of his own, and Westgarth does nothing with no negative consequence. There’s some positive outlook on the situation for you. Sheesh.
- Glad to see Terry Murray stick with Jonathan Quick for Game 5. Yes, he’s allowed 12 goals in his previous two games, but you can hardly fault Quick for any of them. He’s been victim of defensive zone coverage collapse, viciously hung out to dry. Calling for Jonathan Bernier could provide a spark, but goaltending hasn’t been the problem.
- A good omen? Today in Los Angeles Kings history, 10 years from the date, Adam Deadmarsh scored two goals including the OT winner in route to clinching the Western Conference Quarterfinals series against the Detroit Red Wings.
- Scott Parse returns to the lineup for the first time since November, fully healed from a hip injury that he suffered back in August during training camp. Happy to see Parse return, but is it the right decision? In just five games played this season, does he have more value than Alexei Ponikarovsky and Oscar Moller? Tough to say. The guy hasn’t seen live ice in over five months, and both Ponikarovsky and Moller have had decent showings in the postseason.
- The current white/purple away uniforms could be making their final appearance in team history tonight. They’re being scrapped for a white version of the current alternate uniforms next year. The Kings have been donning this template since 1998, although with numerous tweaks being made through the years. Don’t die on me now.
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Kyle Clifford, Jack Johnson, Kevin Westgarth – ‘Sharks Page’ at http://www.sharkspage.com