Kings-Canucks Game 1: Final Playoff Roundup
Since we last met the Vancouver Canucks...
IN: Roberto Luongo, Christopher Tanev (Canucks); Jonathan Quick, Jeff Carter (Kings)
OUT: Daniel Sedin
Enemy Reading: Nucks Misconduct
Not much left to say here. Anything can happen in a 4-7 game series, including an utter revolution in a team's habits.
You may recall their last playoff series. Kopitar was out, a devastaing loss for the defense as much as the offense. Their second leading scorer, Justin Williams, played in a sling with a separated shoulder. Everyone predicted a low-scoring, tight checking approach, as had held true in the regular season. Instead, the Kings players seemed to lead a revolt in the quest for more offense. They piled up tons of goals, both on the power play and at even strength, but lost their defensive identity in the process.
Terry Murray never made adjustments, other than increasingly bizarre line combinations. Darryl Sutter is not Terry Murray, since he trusts his players to make their own reads. This time, the players should display more trust in the gameplan.
Everyone seems to be taking the Kings lightly but the Canucks themselves. While puck possession and zone time increase their odds, they are no guarantee. These are two very strong teams. The Kings, however, should feel confident that their style of play can deliver results.