SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 14: Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings flips over Douglas Murray #3 of the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the HP Pavilion on April 14, 2011 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Let's see. Where to begin?
The Sharks are a different team, they say. They're physical now.
I wouldn't be surprised if Stoll gets a game for that.
And if that happens, I predict there will be hits in this series that are worse and go unpunished.
Back to McLellan: his press conference seemed like they had lost. He spent a lot of time explaining, essentially, why they didn't dominate 3/4 of that game.
They didn't dominate because they were contained. They were contained because the Kings got back to the system.
Yes, if the Kings had any power-play at all, they would have been leading after the 1st.
But they don't. So they weren't.
Will the power-play wake up? Maybe if Oscar Moller is dressed.
The problem is, Kevin Westgarth had a great game and almost scored the game-winning goal.
Justin Williams played better than I dared hope he would. And that's a huge upgrade over Williams last year's playoffs.
Jon Quick this year is an upgrade over tired Quick last year.
Poni, Clifford and Lewis are a huge upgrade over Fredrik Modin and Jeff Halpern. (I loved Modin, but still.)
The Kings played 3/4 of an excellent, playoff-style game. They gave Dany Heatley a freebie, and Joe Pavelski what must be his dream ideal scoring chance.
Great, great shot by Pavelski.
Note to everyone: please get the puck in deep.
The announcers on NHL on the Fly just said, "the Kings have their work cut out for them." They're sticking to their narrative.
I thought the Sharks looked freaked out, and (ultimately) relieved.
Hey, if Jarret Stoll is suspended, does Lombardi bring up Brayden Schenn?
The Kings now know (or just remembered) that they can not only play with these guys, but out-play them.
And the meme about the Sharks having the easiest of all of the first round series...is dead.
Like everyone else, the Sharks will need some luck to win this series.
Luck favors the prepared.
I'll stick to my prediction. Kings in seven.
- Sharks won.
- In overtime.
- They dominated early.
- Then the Kings dominated about half of the second and third periods.
- Jonathan Quick gave them one juicy rebound and let in a soft one.
- Then he played like a Vezina winner.
- Antti Niemi looked not great most of the game.
- Then he made that save on Clifford.
- And on the wrap-around by Ryan Smyth.
- Alexei Ponikarovsky played about the heaviest game I've seen him play as a King.
- Kyle Clifford and/or Trevor Lewis are going to score a GWG or two in this series, I think.
- Drew Doughty is trying to do too much. The missed hip-check was unnecessary.
- And the interference penalty could have been fatal.
- The Kings were nervous in the first period.
- Then the Sharks were nervous.
- I guess they still are, because Todd McLellan is on "the podium" right now talking about how the non-call on Stoll changed the momentum of the game and allowed the Kings to dominate, the theory being that Stoll takes a lot of face-offs (unfair, he should have been kicked out!) and the Sharks were down to five D.
- I take the fact that they're making excuses in a win to be a good sign.