Game 2; SJ leads series 2-0
SAN JOSE - After their terrible start to Game 1, the Los Angeles Kings needed a much better start to Game 2. That's just what they got thanks to goals by Jake Muzzin and Trevor Lewis. But then, the roof caved in on the silver-and-black.
Despite being outshot 15-10 in the opening period, the Kings looked like a completely different hockey team on Sunday than they were on Thursday. They came out like a team on a mission and after the first 20 minutes were through, they had control of the contest. But that's when the fun ended for the road team.
4:05 into the second, Mike Brown snapped his first of the postseason past Jonathan Quick to cut the San Jose deficit in half. Then, at the 9:04 mark, Raffi Torres snapped his second past Quick to tie it. That was followed up by Justin Braun letting go a weak point shot that found its way through and into the net. Suddenly, it was 3-2 Sharks entering the third.
While they did allow three unanswered goals in that middle frame, the Kings could have managed to turn the momentum tide back in their favour. They were only down by a goal with plenty of hockey left to be played. But almost as soon as the third started, everything unraveled for the 2012 Stanley Cup champs.
After Patrick Marleau scored at 1:08 to give San Jose some insurance, Joe Pavelski scored, then Logan Couture and finally Joe Thornton on a 5-on-3 man-advantage. It was 7-2 in favour of San Jose and the Kings had looked as if they had regressed a decade in terms of their on-ice incompetence.
Let's give credit where it's due. The San Jose Sharks found themselves behind the eight-ball early and roared back to blow their SoCal rivals out of the water. But from the beginning of the second period on, the Kings looked absolutely lost out there, almost as if they had no business even sharing the ice with their rivals.
After playing magnificently down the stretch in the regular season, Jonathan Quick allowed a troubling total of 12 goals in the first two games of this series. Of course, while the numbers don't lie, his usually-reliable defensive unit has not helped him. Unfathomably, head coach Darryl Sutter never bothered pulling Quick despite the debacle on Sunday.
Like any team that gets blown out in a game, frustration boiled over for the Kings in the latter stages of this contest. They took four penalties in the third including giving the Sharks an aforementioned 5-on-3 man-advantage.
Defenseman Matt Greene, who was inserted into the lineup after Game 1, was a -4. Anze Kopitar and Alec Martinez didn't fare much better as each finished with a -3 rating.
While they were only mildly outhit on this night, Los Angeles was significantly outshot again (40-26). For a team who outshot their opposition seemingly at will during the regular season, the Kings were outshot twice in as many games in this series. Either the Sharks are that good, the Kings are suddenly that bad or it's a combination of both.
Trevor Lewis, who scored a goal and led his team with six hits, was arguably the Kings' best player in Game 2. Unfortunately, that's little consolation given the overall outcome.
Overall, it feels as if Tuesday night cannot arrive fast enough for the Los Angeles Kings and their fans. That's when they will host Game 3 at Staples Center and, hopefully, the beginning of a turnaround in a series that's already looking very ugly for the silver-and-black.
At this point, the most fascinating aspect of this series is wondering what Darryl Sutter will do to counter San Jose's momentum for next game.