So many things went wrong on Sunday. The over booking at Staples Center, LA Live with all the bicycles and street closures, the early day game and the additional bandwagoners. The Kings looked out of sync right along with the fans having to arrive 3 hours early for a noon game. We took the metro and actually enjoyed the ride since it was filled with other Kings fans and an occasional chant broke out. Arriving in downtown and having lunch while watching the cyclists end the race was an ok time as well. In other words, not at all like it should be and not at all correct. I didn’t even listen to my pregame Chili Peppers songs. The whole day was just a big fat reality check. The team is not infallible. So what do we have to do to get back on track?
Fans: Get back to your regular scheduled rituals!
LA Live: Hockey decorations only please!
Staples Center: Fire your schedulers and no more multi days!
But most of all, the Kings need to try to shut down those dogs tonight. I think we all started looking ahead and lost the sole concentration on the past game. It’s exciting, I know. But Sutter said it best: “Try and win the next game; could be in Tucson or Toledo or in Los Angeles,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said before the team left for Phoenix on Monday. “To me it has no bearing on anything. It’s always now, today and tomorrow, not last week, next week.” The Kings need to focus only on this game. Do not think about if we do or don’t win this one. Try not to think ahead of what is to come. Stay in the here and now and play like it’s an elimination game. Because you can bet your booty the Coyotes are going to play that way tonight.
Phoenix is going to play a more disciplined game. They will continue to keep their forecheck up and their penalties down. This makes for a dangerous team. Kings will need to be rough and tough tonight. They didn’t have much hitting last game and although they did out shoot the Coyotes, their shots on goal were not realized. The Kings held on to the puck too long giving the Coyotes plenty of time to get in position to block or stop the goal. Many shots were mid chest on Smith. Smith is just too big for a center shot on goal. 6 foot 5 is a lot of goalie taking up most of the open net. The Kings will have to move him laterally and look to score in the corners to win this game. Getting those second chance rebounds are so important with a good goalie like Smith. The straight on shots won’t go past him but the rebounds will. The Kings will want to get in front of the net for those opportunities tonight.
The Power Play. Just one word: absent. Do we have the worst power play in history? I’m beginning to think so. The Kings are 2-for-23 on the power play in this series. That is just not going to work. There is talk that the Bruins still won with a horrible power play last year, but they are not us. We need to be able to capitalize on those opportunities. If the Kings can upset the Coyotes, draw penalties and produce goals, we will finish this series tonight.
The lines are the same. Fraser will remain in the the lineup and Clifford out. The Coyotes Aucoin may not be in tonight, they are calling that at game time. Quick and Smith in goal battling it out. Let’s finish this up boys!
# 23 Brown– # 11 Kopitar – # 14 Williams
# 25 Penner– # 10 Richards – # 77 Jeff Carter
# 74 King – # 28 Stoll – # 22 Lewis
# 15 Richardson - # 24 Fraser– # 71 Nolan
# 7 Scuderi – # 8 Doughty
# 33 Mitchell – # 26 Voynov
# 27 Martinez –# 2 Greene
# 32 Quick #
#13 Ray Whitney – #11 Hanzal – #17 Radim Vrbata
#89 Mikkel Boedker – #50 Antoine Vermette – #19 Shane Doan
#14 Taylor Pyatt – #15 Boyd Gordon – #43 Marc-Antoine Pouliot
#24 Kyle Chipchura – #22 Daymond Langkow – #8 Gilbert Brule
#23 Oliver Ekman-Larsson – #32 Michal Rozsival
#3 Keith Yandle – #6 David Schlemko
#16 Rostislav Klesla – #53 Derek Morris
#41 Mike Smith
#1 Jason LaBarbera
Go Kings Go!