Here we are. The road has come to an end for the Los Angeles Kings. The Vancouver Canucks closed out the series 4-2 last night. The series also ends four games to two. I honestly thought the Kings would take this series in six games. It wasn't until the blow out the other night where I thought my prediction might not ring true, but I had so much confidence! STAPLES Center was rocking, towels were swinging, players looked good.
The Kings needed this game to force a Game 7 and it had all the makings of that result going off the first period. They all came out the gate with an extra hop in their step and stayed with the Canucks the entire period. Too bad the extra gear equaled the Canucks regular output when they're actually playing their game. The mismatch was too much and the Canucks tied it, scored the go-ahead, and then closed the door with an empty netter. Brutal.
There are plenty of players to talk about, but I'll just point out a few here and talk about others in subsequent posts.
- I was surprised by Michal Handzus' performance last night. He was a lot weaker in this last game compared to the entire season. He played 21:04, but I hardly will blame fatigue on his poor showing. I do have to point out for the tail-end of this season the lack of sustained offensive pressure as a consistent trait in the entire team's play.
- When Matt Greene is making a rush in the opposition's zone and driving the puck to the net, that should be a wake up call to the forwards to get their act together. It's a bit ridiculous that it had to occur since that's not Greene's game; at the same time, maybe of he worked a bit on his puck handling, it wouldn't look so odd for him to lead the way into the zone.
- Drew Doughty, on the other hand, was very good in this last game, but I think everyone realizes now that he is actually mortal (case in point, the worst game ever; Game 5). Don't forget everyone (and how could you) to watch for the Norris Trophy results. Doughty's up against Chicago's Duncan Keith and Washington's Mike Green.
I still have this feeling of disbelief that the season has ended. I now understand why people argue to have the regular season shortened, but I wouldn't change it. The length and effort it takes to just get to the first round makes the heartbreak greater, which is madness but I wouldn 't have it any other way. There are a ton of positives from this season; first and foremost, the fact that the Kings got into the playoffs! At the same time, there will be a few alterations to the roster. I can't say with complete certainty that the Kings will send Alexander Frolov on his way out the door, but the chances of that happening are better than most. In any case, that's fodder for summer.
There is a lot to come in later posts but I will end here with my final two words to the Kings that sum up all my feelings this season: thank you.