VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 23: Goalie Erik Ersberg #31 of the Los Angeles Kings fails to stop the shot of Mikael Samuelsson #26 of the Vancouver Canucks during the third period in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 23, 2010 at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
I will answer my own question.
Game Two: Kings play better but Vancouver is still pretty scary 5-on-5. The Kings' PP is a game-changer and that levels the playing field. Could go either way, but the Kings win in OT.
Game Three: Kings destroy Vancouver for most of the game, then get running around a bit and almost let them back in. Almost but not quite. You know, thanks to the intervention of Bettman.
Game Four: Kings play their best two periods of the series, then freak out and blow it in the last 20 minutes. Kings lose and apparently are emotionally scarred as a result. Could have been up 3-1, now they're knotted at 2. Would've, could've, should've.
To this point, the Kings have lost twice and neither one was what I would call a familiar loss, by which I mean, the kind of games the Kings usually lose. That, if nothing else, gives me hope.
Game five: Now THAT's a Kings loss I've seen a million times. Quick is somewhere else, Dustin Brown is skating the puck from the boards into the slot and handing it off to the other team, everyone is shooting wide, the PP can't get set up, Anze Kopitar is working the corners like a madman but forgets about the part where he gets a f***ing shot on goal, Randy Jones is spacing out behind the goal WITH THE PUCK and turning it over (I have actually never seen that particular flavor of turn-over before, where the defenseman is literally surprised by a forward leaping out from around the front of the net, like he was hiding), Sean O'Donnell looks like he's in his early to mid 50s, players just kind of wiping out while trying to make plays, Justin Williams making two potentially deadly up-the-middle passes both of which are intercepted in one shift...I could go on.
And I will! I was so happy to see the return of the stupid power play telegraph-every-pass-while-standing-still strategem. Why is Kopitar the QB on the 5-on-3? Why is he still the QB when we go back to 5-on-4? Didn't anyone see the first 12 power-plays we had in this series? I've seen better power-plays on one of these.
The only things that redeemed the game at all:
- The bit where Brown was checked into the Kings bench and looked like Elmer Fudd getting his head stuck in a rabbit hole.
- The fact that I got fed up and changed the channel to the Red Wings game and when I turned back maybe sixty seconds later two goals had been scored and somehow Quick was back in.
- Having missed the second Kings goal, I said to myself, "bet it was Fredrik Modin or Brad Richardson." And it was. I really like him.
- Terry Murray yelling at Ryan Smyth and Smyth transforming into his pee-wee self before my eyes.
- Mark Hardy interviewed at the start of the third and basically looking already defeated and/or about ready to break furniture.
- The ref calling Smyth for goaltender interference and while calling it he's shaking his head like, "you f-ing idiot, what do you expect me to do?"
Rich Clune's fight. I think I saw that very fight in the original Bad News Bears.
- Fox Sports West putting up little banners about what's coming up in the second period intermission during the third period.
- When was the last time you saw a back-up goalie come in for a couple of shifts, face four shots and leave with a SV% of .500 and a GAA of 9.25? (I feel bad though, since that's probably the last we will have seen of Erik Ersberg in a Kings uniform. Maybe not. But. Probably, come on.)
While I'm thinking about it, those green things are evil. I think we should counter by getting about 500 of the most beautiful women in the world and seating them several rows deep all around the Canucks' bench. That shouldn't be hard to do. Or maybe do that thing from Godfather 2 where they fly in Pentangeli's brother.
Now that my hostility is slightly vented, let's look at some numbers:
- Shots by Kopitar, Williams, Richardson, Smyth, Alexander Frolov and Brown added together: 5.
- Shots by Wayne Simmonds all by himself: 5.
- Shots by Michal Handzus: 4. Drew Doughty also had 4.
- The Canucks scored 7 goals on 30 shots. That's a .767 SV%. One could reasonably expect to do better on 30 penalty shots.