The Kings showed their ability to come from behind in their first-round matchup against the St. Louis Blues, crawling out of a two-games to none ditch.
Right now, their focus is staying ahead; staying ahead of the San Jose Sharks – a team that is equally as capable of overcoming a two-game deficit as the Kings are.
They say a two-goal lead is the hardest to hold in hockey.
A two-game lead, well that can certainly behold the same difficult implications.
The Kings will have to push to stay ahead of the San Jose Sharks heading into Game 4 of their Western Conference Semifinals series Tuesday evening at HP Pavilion, after falling in Game 3 by way of a 2-1 score that saw the Sharks regain life with a game-winning tally off the stick of Logan Couture early in the OT frame.
The Sharks have lost only twice this season in their home confines at HP Pavilion, where they’ve played a total of 27 games.
The Kings, on the other hand, have only won a single (1) game on the road since the month of March.
How do you define difficult?
Comfortable doesn’t exist right now.
Winning in Northern California’s hostile confines can give the Kings a taste of comfort, however.
Game 4 can send the Sharks to the brink.
It can also make this much closer of a series than you would want it to be.
Putting a Spin on it
How do you want it?
Short-sighted: The Kings continue to be without a few key players from their lineup, namely Jarret Stoll, who hasn’t returned to the lineup since the horrendous blindsided blow he took from the now-suspended Raffi Torres in Game 1 of the series.
Stoll, who has continually grown to be one of the most dependable and useful players on the roster, is being sorely missed. Jarret Stoll is the Kings’ best forward in the faceoff circle, he’s a staple on the Kings’ penalty-kill, and he’s a regular on the Kings’ powerplay rotation.
The Kings, who had been able to regroup to cover the loss of Jarret Stoll in Game 2 by shutting down the Sharks on special teams, were fully exposed Saturday night in Game 3.
They’re getting drilled in the faceoff circle. And that’s oh so crucial to the San Jose Sharks‘ success.
Also missing is Kyle Clifford, who has been a big-time performer in the past against San Jose in the postseason, and Matt Greene, who is a specialist in clearing out opponent’s traffic in front of Jonathan Quick – and traffic, without a doubt, has been the Sharks’ strongest strategy.
But thankfully, and fruitfully, the Kings are getting some assistance from the prospects.
Youth Groove: The Kings’ have been getting some unexpected appearances by youth prospects in their system during the postseason, with Tyler Toffoli, Jake Muzzin, and Tanner Pearson all making their NHL postseason debuts this year.
To raise the bar a level, Tanner Pearson didn’t just make his NHL postseason debut Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks, but his NHL debut as well.
The kid couldn’t have been level-headed. There’s no way.
He might’ve been as coherent as a teenager five beers deep.
Shockingly, however, Tyler Toffoli has been performing in the big-time picture magnificently. And, well, quite impressively.
He presented himself as a worthwhile asset after being added to the lineup in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the St. Louis Blues. And he’s apparently proved himself as well, as head coach Darryl Sutter has stuck with the young, inexperienced forward.
Tyler Toffoli has registered points in the Kings’ previous two games against the San Jose Sharks, assisting on Trevor Lewis‘ game-tying goal in Game 2 at Staples Center, and scoring the Kings’ only goal in Game 3 at HP Pavilion.
It’s a youth movement, if you will.
Flavor of the Week: The prospects in the Kings’ organization who came up from the AHL‘s Manchester Monarchs were a big story during last year’s postseason run as well, but those names have changed.
Call it a Sophomore slump if you want, because Dwight King and Jordan Nolan have been disturbingly silent not just during the playoffs, but the season as a whole.
Take a Seat
Point at Detroit
How about burying one, Dwight. Then we’ll talk Detroit.
Dwight King hasn’t registered a goal since the Kings’ March 25th contest against the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s got two assists through nine playoff games this season, and holds a less than impressive -1 rating.
Don’t talk back, kid
Game Four Pour
Short-Circuit: The Kings were able to eliminate San Jose’s biggest threat from their offensive tandem throughout the first two games of the series, but crumbled Saturday night in the worst way, and time, possible.
The San Jose Sharks swept through the Western Conference Quarterfinals with ease against the Vancouver Canucks, and it had quite a bit to do with special teams offensive production.
San Jose scored seven powerplay goals against the Vancouver Canucks in their four-game sweep against Brititsh Columbia’s finest.
In their first two contests against the Kings in the Western Conference Semifinals, the Sharks were shutout on their man-advantage opportunities, going 0-7 against the Kings on their powerplay.
However, three is key.
The Sharks buried both of their goals against the Kings in Game 3 Saturday night on the powerplay advantage.
As you know, that’s the kiss of death when playing the San Jose Sharks.
And as you know…
Someone needs to make a leading statement on this team.
And they need to do it in Game 4.
Word has it, he’s back
Word has it.
How ironic, the Ottawa Senators won their Game 3 contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2nd OT period on Sunday.
We’ve got ourselves a sorely-missed asset back in the mix. Maybe.
Call us Rich
But who’s Counting
Let’s hope for Christmas-like expectations Tuesday night.
Puck drops for Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals Tuesday night at 7:00PM PST against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion.
Episode 196 KingsCast TV: LAK-SJS Game 1 WCSF RECAP – HERE
Episode 197 KingsCast TV: LAK-SJS Game 2 WCSF RECAP – HERE
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