For the second consecutive year, the Los Angeles Kings have defeated the St. Louis Blues to advance in the NHL Playoffs. In this new episode, Chris is once again joined by hockey blogger Alex Kinkopf to discuss Game 6, present a Playoff Beard Update (sort of), give an official See Ya! to the Blues and breakdown the Pros & Cons of playing the Sharks or Ducks in the next round. Go Kings!
The tide has turned! In a series momentum shift the Los Angeles Kings have taken a 3-2 lead after a tight OT win against the St. Louis Blues. In this episode, KingsCast blogger Alex Kinkopf co-hosts as we discuss Game 5, breakdown the scoring, goaltending & physicality of the series, present a Playoff Beard update, preview Game 6 and read the best post-win comments from Facebook. Close it out Kings!
Boom! The LA Kings storm back to take the game and even the series with the St. Louis Blues at 2 games a piece. In this new installment we breakdown Game 4, discuss the full team effort, give a Playoff Beard update and preview Game 5 in St. Louis. Go Kings!
For the Kings, the two game return to Staples Center in their Western Conference Quarterfinals dance with the St. Louis Blues saw them pull off two consecutive wins, tying the series 2-2, while rediscovering their offense that trudged through an uncharacteristically cold and ugly start to the postseason.
They rediscovered their winning ways before rejuvenating their offense, winning 1-0 Saturday night at Staples Center in Game 3 of the series. The Kings maintained their one-goal-per game quota in Game 3, but this time around, Jonathan Quick made sure no off-hand mistakes were made to grant St. Louis any success.
Talk about a save.
The Kings were lifted by a defenseman offensively in their Game 3 shutout victory, Vyacheslav Voynov tallying the lone goal of the contest that would ultimately breathe new life into the Kings’ playoff run.
Voynov, who is playing in only his second NHL season, has looked like a veteran from the day he joined the Kings’ roster as a 21 year-old on the evening of October 18, 2011, his debut game which came against none other than the St. Louis Blues.
Since then, he’s solidified himself as an absolute staple to the Kings’ blue-line.
A staple that locked up Game 3.
Game 3 Kaput
Nothing New About it
Cement in the Crease: The Kings, without Jonathan Quick, would not have had a prayer in even coming close in Games 1 and 2 in this series against the St. Louis Blues without last year’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner’s stalwart play.
You can’t expect much when you score just once in 60 minutes.
Unfortunately, though, Quick’s costly mistakes to Alexander Steen‘s penalty-kill pressure in Game 1 and Barret Jackman‘s hapless shot in Game 2 cost the Kings their two losses.
This was as much the fault of the Kings’ offense as it was Jonathan Quick‘s, but Quick proved to be the bigger asset first – granting the Kings a win without a shutout performance, stopping every single one of St. Louis’ 30 shots Saturday night.
The Kings’ struggling offense was saved in Game 3, but two nights later, they took matters into their own hands in Game 4.
Monday night proved to be a barn-burner at Staples Center, the Kings overcoming two deficits offensively, recording four goals against the St. Louis Blues to land their second-straight win, while finally giving Jonathan Quick some well-deserved support.
The scoring itself came in abundance, and it leaked to just about half of the Kings’ roster.
11 Kings players recorded at least one point in Game 4 Monday night.
Record it with a Penner and Paper
Purposeful Penner: Throughout his two-year tenure with the Kings, which will likely come to an end after this season, Dustin Penner‘s presence has been portrayed in a rather negative fashion, which, at times, has been the cold-hard and honest look at the veteran winger’s performance.
He’s found a new wind in the Kings’ playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, looking faster and more prone to induce production than he ever has in a Los Angeles uniform.
In his four games in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, Dustin Penner has been a hot commodity for the Kings’ offensive pressure.
Penner has laid 10 hits on St. Louis, he’s directed nine shots Brian Elliott‘s way, and he’s scored a goal, that quite frankly, the Kings couldn’t have done without in order to pull away with a win in Game 4 Monday night.
Who says you can’t still pull some moves as an aging NHL forward, on and off the ice, even after a nasty divorce.
It’s better than that pancake sh*t.
20 games, 41 days
That was the span Anze Kopitar had gone without recording a goal until he keyed on Dustin Brown‘s outstanding puck possession and the needle-thread like pass he fed to Kopitar in the 3rd period Monday night.
The Kings were just 12:46 minutes away from a dreadful 3-1 series deficit.
And then, the two most tenured players on this roster, the two names that have been the strongest identities to this organization, the two that have grown together during some of the darkest days this franchise has been through, came through.
Dustin Brown, who built the Kings’ game-tying goal in Game 4 Monday night with his utterly dominating possession of the puck deep in the Blues’ zone, was waiting anxiously for some help to execute on the defensive scramble St. Louis found itself in.
He was waiting for Anze Kopitar to come back.
Anze Kopitar came home.
Nothing wrong with coming through the back door.
Rally back, Monkey off the back
Game 5 Jive
How do you want it: The Kings, fresh off a win that saw their rejuvenated roster record points from 11 different players in Game 4, head back to St. Louis, Missouri for Game 5 in the same exact fashion – rejuvenated.
It’s back to Scottrade Center.
You couldn’t trade the game’s setting for the world.
Because when you’re playing, you’re playing.
Where? It shouldn’t matter.
Keep it going, now.
Puck drops in downtown St. Louis, Missouri Wednesday evening for Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center at 6:00PM PST.
Episode 192 KingsCast TV: LAK-STL Game 3 WCQF RECAP – HERE Episode 193 KingsCast TV: LAK-STL Game 4 WCQF RECAP – HERE Follow the blog on Twitter HERE Get your Official KingsCast Apparel HERE KingsCast Hockey Podcast on — Facebook - Twitter - Youtube
That’s more like it! The Los Angeles Kings hold on for a 1-0 win against the St. Louis Blues at Staples Center in Game 3, making the series 2-1 Blues. In this episode we breakdown the game, preview Game 4, discuss Staples Center concessions, update our Playoff beard tracker and provide genius commentary. Go Kings!
The Stanley Cup title defense has begun! In this episode we breakdown Game 1 between the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues, make witty observations & give our Top 5 changes Coach Sutter should make for Game 2. Go Kings!
The Kings’ 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals was a slap back to reality if you will, a little jolt to refresh you on what life in the NHL playoffs is really about.
Snap out of that 2012 magic.
The scoreboard didn’t do Tuesday night’s contest justice. Jonathan Quick was turning away digit changes on Scottrade Center‘s score clocks under St. Louis’ name at a rate faster than his own last name.
Quick saved the Kings Tuesday night, absolutely stood on his head in a phenomenal effort to give our lackluster roster any prayer of a chance to win the contest.
Ironically, and in utterly painful fashion, Jonathan Quick also lost the game for the Kings.
It was a missed opportunity to wreck and absolutely bury St. Louis’ psychological state.
It was a missed opportunity to, and I say this in the most literal way possible, steal a game from the St. Louis Blues.
Because to be fair, level-headed, and accountable about the Kings’ performance in their postseason opener on Tuesday night; they certainly, and without a doubt, did not deserve to win that contest. The fact Justin Williams found a sliver of open space atop the left shoulder of the Blues’ Brian Elliott with just :31.6 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime was a steal in itself.
A steal, that is, that the Kings would get caught loose-handed with in the overtime frame.
Where Momma keeps the Cookies
Dancing with the Disc: The St. Louis Blues were looking for a glimmer of hope against the Kings Tuesday night, one that would provide a boost of confidence to a team the Kings had defeated eight consecutive times, and in 10 of their previous 11 meetings.
All it takes is one bounce, one play.
When you’re as unfortunate as the Blues have been against the Kings, you’re not so much leaning on the execution of a set play, but the advantage of a unique, jaw-dropping instance that figures into a magnificent development that revives you more than a lay after a dry period.
That happened to the Blues, the Kings felt it. It came at the 6:34 mark of the first overtime period, just after the Kings had been granted a golden opportunity from the act of a stick hitting face.
Kevin Shattenkirk caught Dustin Penner with a high stick behind the net just :41 seconds of game-play prior to Alexander Steen‘s game-winning tally.
Shattenkirk’s stick didn’t just strike Penner’s mug, it struck blood, signaling an automatic double-minor 4:00 minute powerplay for the Kings. This, just as the Kings were showing signs of their old selves, deep into a period that saw them reclaim momentum on St. Louis, outshooting the Blues 10-5 and controlling the majority of puck possession.
Script it as a steal, the Kings were running away with absolute robbery.
Then they got caught, caught sleeping when the St. Louis blues were not just down, but short-handed.
Dabble with it
Short handed, hot handed
Your Medicine: The Blues beat the Kings Tuesday night, the same way the Kings beat the Blues in last year’s Western Conference Semifinals series, where the Kings swept St. Louis convincingly with four straight victories.
Matt Greene recorded the Kings’ game-winning goal in Game 1 of their series with the St. Louis Blues last season on April 28, 2012 at Scottrade Center in short-handed fashion.
Alexander Steen potted the game-winner for St. Louis in Game 1 this time around, also in short-handed fashion.
Call it walking on flip-flops.
The Kings scored two short-handed goals in all against the St. Louis Blues last postseason, with Anze Kopitar netting the eventual game-tying goal en rout to the Kings locking up a 5-2 victory on March 30th, 2012 at Scottrade Center.
For the first time in five postseason series’ the Kings have lost the opening contest. The four previous series’ began on the road as well, the Kings regaining home-ice advantage with each of their Game 1 victories.
Scoring first against the Blues has proven critical to the Kings success against them in the past. Scoring in general is key as well. The Kings outscored the Blues 15-6 in four playoff meetings last season, and outscored them 14-7 in their three regular season meetings this year.
The Kings, after last night had lost to the Blues just one other time in 12 meetings. Offensive struggle was a factor, the Kings getting shutout 1-0 on February 3rd, 2012 at Scottrade Center.
The 2013 NHL regular season concludes as the Kings land in the 5 spot. In this installment we quickly breakdown the games against the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings & San Jose Sharks, present our Top 5 Reasons why playing the St. Louis Blues in Round 1 is awesome, introduce our KingsCast Playoff Beard tracker and preview the playoffs.
Saturday night’s regular season finale could be a case of déjà vu, it could be a precursor.
Pick your outlook at-will.
Even after three consecutive NHL postseason appearances and a Stanley Cup championship to their name, the Kings, in that span, have yet to start a playoff series at Staples Center.
The Kings haven’t had the numbers to earn home-ice advantage in a playoff series in 21 years, not since their 1992 Smythe Division Semifinals series against the Edmonton Oilers, when the Kings still played at Inglewood’s Great Western Forum.
According to the Kings’ opponent coming to Staples Center Saturday, it’s déjà vu for you. The Kings also finished off last year’s regular season slate against the San Jose Sharks, albeit in Northern California at the HP Pavilion.
According to the Kings’ current positioning in the NHL‘s Western Conference standings, Saturday’s regular season date with the Sharks is a precursor to a possible first-round playoff matchup against San Jose in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Beside the San Jose Sharks, there are two other possible opponents the Kings could see come the start of the playoffs being the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks.
Of the Kings’ three possible first-round playoff opponents, they have seen each one of them at least once in the postseason the previous three years.
There’s nothing wrong with some familiarity come the playoffs. The Kings are 6-5 against the Vancouver Canucks (WCQF 2010, WCQF 2012), they’re 4-0 against the St. Louis Blues (WCSF 2012), and 2-4 against the San Jose Sharks (WCQF 2011).
Those results are far from shabby.
The same can’t be said for the Kings’ recent two-game swing in the Midwest.
Hunt for Home
If either the Kings or Sharks want any hope of snagging the the final ‘home-ice’ slot (4th) in the Western Conference standings, the St. Louis Blues must lose to the Chicago Blackhawks in regulation Saturday night at Scottrade Center.
If the Blues do in fact lose, the Kings matchup with the Sharks Saturday night has a simply, yet bold implication. They’ll be playing for home-ice advantage in the Western Conference Quarterfinals – flat out, no other fine print in the mix.
Home-ice advantage is something the Kings want, even after the outstanding 10-1 record they pulled off in opposing buildings last spring during the 2012 NHL Playoffs.
The Kings own the NHL‘s best record on home ice this season, playing ruthless hockey at Staples Center, posting an 18-4-1 record.
Kyle Clifford, who scored the lone goal in the Kings’ loss to the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena, knows the grounds of a playoff matchup with the San Jose Sharks all too well.
San Jose, can you see
The #13 Lean
Going Fourth, California North
Defensive when it’s Offensive: The Kings have had dates with the San Jose Sharks on three previous occasions this season, tallying up a 1-1-1 record. Each club has won when playing on home ice.
The Kings put on an offensive clinic March 16 at Staples Center, whaling on the Sharks with goals aplenty in a 5-2 victory that saw 12 Kings players record at least one point.
In both contests against the Sharks at HP Pavilion this season, March 14 and April 16, the Kings lost both times; Once in regulation, and once in extended time, falling in a shootout decider in the most recent date against the Sharks on April 16.
Defenseman Matt Greene hasn’t played against the San Jose Sharks this season, missing all three dates while recovering from back surgery, from an injury he suffered on January 19 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Greene returned to the Kings’ lineup last Thursday, but in unpolished form.
Matt Greene won’t play against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night either.
When you’re injured and out of the lineup for 42 consecutive contests, the return isn’t going to be glamorous – especially when the rest of the roster is preparing for the most high-tempo point of the season, that being the playoffs.
Right now is a very dangerous time to return to action after an injury as a hockey player. I don’t care what level. In fact, it doesn’t even matter the sport.
If you’re not in regular game form, then maintaining pace in a postseason rhythm becomes a huge threat to the recovery process.
What you’re balancing with Matt Greene is extreme. A proven, yet still fragile defensive staple for the playoffs, or letting the asset train fruitfully for the next six months.
Was Ellerby that bad?
No time for family
It’s the playoffs, fool.
Light Corps: Both Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick will be in the lineup for Saturday’s contest against the San Jose Sharks, but the Kings remain without Captain Dustin Brown, who received a two-game suspension from the NHL for his hit on Jason Pominville Tuesday night in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Darryl Sutter is expected to pencil in Jonathan Quick to start the regular season finale in the crease for the Kings. Quick, when shaky this season, has been so when the San Jose Sharks are the opponent. He’s started twice against San Jose this season, and those performances haven’t been worthy of space in the memory books.
Quick started the Kings’ first game against the Sharks this season, but was pulled from his duties by Darryl Sutter midway through the contest after surrendering three goals on San Jose’s first 12 shots.
Jonathan Bernier would come in for relief of Quick on March 14th, and start against the San Jose Sharks on April 16th – earning the win while stopping 20 of 22 Sharks shots in a 5-2 win at Staples Center.
Sutter would return to Jonathan Quick in the Kings’ last contest against the Sharks, and he was impressive to say the least. Jonathan Quick stopped 33 of San Jose’s shots, but surrendered a shootout tally to Raffi Torres, granting San Jose the win.
Anze Kopitar, who after suffering a broken ankle in March of 2011, was missed dearly in April of 2011 during the Kings’ playoff series against the San Jose Sharks, which saw the Kings swallow elimination in six games, losing three of their four bouts with the Sharks in overtime.
If there’s a solid time for Anze Kopitar to make his offensive presence known again, that time would most certainly be Saturday night.
Kopitar hasn’t scored since March 25th in Chicago, a 15-game span.
The Kings are without Dustin Brown again for Saturday’s meeting. You’d like to see Kopitar shoulder some success for this roster heading into the playoffs.
Don’t call it a Hail Mary
Due two his two-game suspension, Dustin Brown will miss the Kings’ regular season finale Saturday night. The Kings’ Captain will be back in action when it counts most, though, when the playoffs start next week.
If there’s one thing you can be sure about, it’s Brown’s return.
The Kings’ postseason status is up in the air on all counts, with home-ice scheduling and a first-round opponent still with tagged with multiple possibilities.
The beauty though, is the postseason certainty this organization has built in spectacular fashion.
You don’t need to act like you’ve been there before when you’ve been there before.
Time for another run.
See you Saturday
Be prepared for a dandy.
Puck drops in Downtown Los Angeles at Staples Center against the San Jose Sharks Saturday night at 7:30PM PST.
Episode 188 KingsCast TV: The March to the Playoffs – HERE Follow the blog on Twitter HERE Get your Official KingsCast Apparel HERE KingsCast Hockey Podcast on — Facebook - Twitter - Youtube
For the Kings in St. Paul, Minnesota Tuesday night, desperation is what they were up against; a Minnesota Wild club that was clawing to maintain life in their efforts to clinch their first NHL postseason bid since with 2007-’08 season.
The Kings mathematically clinched a playoff berth over the weekend, but they’re still fighting to take hold of another accomplishment, and one that could most certainly play a respectable role come the start of the playoffs next week.
That’s home-ice advantage, something the Kings haven’t had in any of their playoff appearances the previous three seasons; unless it’s earned by winning on the road, of course. If home-ice was a factor during the playoffs last season, the Kings surely didn’t take it into account.
Home ice you say? The Kings barreled off a 10-1 record in opposing buildings last postseason.
However, Staples Center has been more than just the Kings’ home this season, it’s where they’re winning – it’s a place you’d like to see them kick off their defense of last year’s Stanley Cup Championship.
The Kings hold the NHL‘s best home record this season with an 18-4-1 mark.
Currently sitting at 4th-place in the NHL‘s Western Conference, the Kings are sitting in a spot that would grant them a series start at Staples Center if the playoffs started today. Two games still remain though, and both the St. Louis Blues (5th) and San Jose Sharks (6th) are both serious threats to overtake the Kings’ comfortable position right now, both of them one and two points behind in the standings respectively.
Before the Kings return home to close out the regular season against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center next Saturday night, it’s a quick visit to Detroit, Michigan and the Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday evening.
You’d have to back-track to 1990 since Michigan’s wheel and wing was outside of the NHL‘s playoff picture.
Detroit at Home
To Detroit, then Home
Two to go: The Kings, 46 games into this year’s shortened campaign, have two games left on the regular season’s slate. One of them is on the road, against a team that is fighting to earn a spot in the playoffs. The other is home at Staples Center, against a well-known foe that is fighting to overtake the Kings in the standings to earn home-ice confines in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
The Detroit Red Wings maintained their postseason pace with a win against the Phoenix Coyotes Monday night, which just about put the Coyotes’ playoff hopes to rest.
This time, Detroit did it to Phoenix in the regular season.
The Kings have seen the Detroit Red Wings twice this season, once at home and once in Michigan. The series is split 1-1-0, with each club earning a win in their home building.
Crease Conundrum: After seeing head coach Darryl Sutter swap goaltenders for a solid period of time throughout the middle of the season, Jonathan Quick subtly earned back his ‘every day’ label, getting the call in the previous five Kings’ contests prior to Tuesday night, and six of the Kings’ previous seven.
Jonathan Quick returned to his old, solidly dependable form, going 4-0-1 in a stretch in which he started five consecutive games for the Kings.
Jonathan Bernier, who started his 11th game this season Tuesday night, lost his first start in regulation against the Minnesota Wild, getting caught after what was a very strong start by the Kings, to surrender two goals within :16 seconds of each other in the first period.
Quick will be back in the crease tomorrow in Detroit, Michigan, and likely again at Staples Center on Saturday night.
The goaltending situation is just about as good as it can be heading into the playoffs. Jonathan Quick, with a healthy streak of contests under his wing, has found what seems to be last season’s form back in his swing.
And if needed, Jonathan Bernier is there.
Who is, and extremely arguably so, the best backup goalie option any of the NHL‘s 16 playoff teams have on their depth chart.
Voynov’s gotta go high
Minnesota’s Alive: There are times when the failure to execute on a golden opportunity can be exonerated by the team’s overall performance throughout the game. The Kings didn’t play a full 60 minutes of hockey Tuesday night, they got caught sleeping early, and by then, it was too late.
When you lay back, you don’t get bounces.
When you lay back with a player that beholds the skill-set such as Mike Richards, you’ll still get passes.
You’ll still get chances, you’ll still get opportunity.
Vyacheslav Voynov‘s free on this one. Just needed a tad more lift on that release, kid.
Mike Richards‘ pass crossed more lanes than O.J.Simpson‘s Ford Bronco in ’94.
Look What I Found
Red Wings, Red Light: The Kings suffered from poor offensive results Tuesday night, and a lack of productivity on the special teams’ end may have something do to with it. The Kings had just one powerplay opportunity in Minnesota, and failed to record a shot.
This breaks the Kings’ streak of powerplay goals recorded in consecutive games, which was at an astounding eight straight contests with a Kings tally on the man-advantage.
Matt Greene has been himself, his ‘return from injury‘ self. Greene’s had some slips in quickness and coverage, but nothing a return to every day activity can’t mend. He’ll be along for the ride.
That ride hits it’s second-to-last regular season installment Wednesday night.
Big-eyed About it
Detroit’s got history on the line, and a Kings win would situate local playoff hockey just fine.
Puck drops in Detroit, Michigan at Joe Louis Arena at 4:30PM PST on Wednesday. Have the car’s radio-dial situated to KTLK 1150 AM for that cruise home from work.
Episode 188 KingsCast TV: The March to the Playoffs – HERE Follow the blog on Twitter HERE Get your Official KingsCast Apparel HERE KingsCast Hockey Podcast on — Facebook - Twitter - Youtube