Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 West Quarter-Final:
Game 2 @ San Jose
April 20, 2014
7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)
SJ leads series 1-0
The Los Angeles Kings hope to avoid a 2-0 hole as they prepare for Game 2 hoping for a much better start.
In Game 1, it was the San Jose Sharks who did the outshooting and the outhitting before taking a 3-0 lead before the first period was through. In fact, the two latter goals were scored in the final minute of the frame, which is what set the tone for the remainder of the evening.
After allowing five goals for the first time since early February, netminder Jonathan Quick was pulled after the second period in favour of Martin Jones. It was then that the Kings found the spark they were looking for.
They scored three unanswered goals in the third but the Kings just could not get any closer as San Jose's Brent Burns scored on an empty net to give the home team the 6-3 win, drawing first blood in the series.
If Los Angeles hopes to head back home with a series split, they will need to turn around their early performance from Thursday. For starters, they need to control the game in the hits (and shots) department and get in the habit of screening Sharks' netminder Antti Niemi early and often. That tactic resulted in a pair of goals for the Kings on Thursday but this time, they need to score earlier.
The silver-and-black have always been notorious for being a resilient team but a five-goal deficit was simply too much to overcome on Thursday.
Whatever the issue was in Game 1, the focus needs to change.
While Darryl Sutter didn't single out any of his players for his team's off-night, it shouldn't be any secret that every King needs to improve for Sunday's game.
Overall, the Sharks played Game 1 as if they were on a mission and the Kings couldn't keep up because it just wasn't their night. San Jose capitalized on Jonathan Quick's over-aggressive style and while that usually doesn't hurt the 27-year-old, his defense had an uncharacteristically difficult time preventing cross-ice passes which led to both last-minute goals by San Jose in the first period of the last game.
While it was an ugly loss, no one in the Kingdom has lost faith in their team. Far from it, actually. The loyal supporters of the silver-and-black know all too well how resilient their team is as they hope to see that on Sunday in Game 2.
Enjoy the game!