Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Shutting Out the Sharks: How to Confirm You have the Best Goalie in the World

Tuesday the Los Angeles Kings shutout the San Jose Sharks 2-0 in Game 1 of the Western Conference  Semi-Final. Both Mike Richards, center, and Slava Voynov, defense, were credited with a goal and an assist. Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 35 shots in order to get his second shutout of the 2013 playoffs.

Well that was a boring intro...moving on.

#PlayoffMartinez Update: 1 shot on goal last night.....

I was at the game last night so it was a lot easier to follow the game there than on my computer screen. Here are some things I noticed, both good and bad:

The Bad:

1. The Kings gave up 35 shots. Luckily Jonathan Quick of Nazareth was there to stop all of them. But really, getting outshot by 15 isn't the most effective way to win hockey games. 

2. 50/50 battles for the puck; from what I could tell, the Kings weren't winning them for the most part. 

3. The Kings second goal was a deflection. Just as easily, the Sharks could have had one of those lucky bounces and the game would have been completely different. 

4. Jeff Carter didn't score AND got an assist. It was horrible. 

5. Raffi Torres sucks and Jarret Stoll has a "day-to-day" "undisclosed" injury. For those who aren't familiar with hockey, that means he has a concussion because Mr. Torres blindsided him (and a few other guys).

Word on the street is that he has been offered an in-person hearing with the NHL on his hit last night. 

The Good:

1. The Kings won! Yeah! That makes 5 in a row. 

2. Defensively: the Kings were doing a good job of keeping a majority of the Sharks shots to the perimeter. The Sharks weren't getting too many chances up close or off of rebounds. If there was a loose puck in front of the net, and Quick wasn't there, a defenseman was and he was able to clear it to the boards. In addition, the Sharks had only 4 shots on their three powerplays. 

3. The Kings 3rd period forecheck stood out to me, when they got the chance to forecheck that is. I mean pretty much all of the third period was played in the Kings' zone. But otherwise, the rest of the game the Kings did a good job of clogging the neutral zone and the Sharks were dumping/chasing more times than not. 

The Kings will definitely have to up their play in Game 2. It's got to be frustrating for the Sharks to put 35 shots on net, and none of them go in. Jonathan Quick is making them look like...

Despite the Kings 2 goals coming from the more "outside" regions of the offensive zone, I felt that they had more quality scoring chances than the Sharks (until the third period). But what does a scoring chance even mean? Isn't every shot a "scoring chance?" What does it imply? 

Game 2 will be interesting. Why? Well the Sharks are probably not going to come up goalless on 35 shots again. Jarret Stoll will most likely be out for the Kings, a key faceoff guy for the team. So who's going to replace him?

Jeff Carter and Mike Richards can both take faceoffs well, but does Daryl Sutter really want to split those two up? I mean, these guys are the dynamic duo, they can't be separated. What's Henrik Sedin without Daniel? What's Batman without Robin? What Bonnie without Clyde? What's an Adam Sandler movie without Rob Schneider? 

*Sweet Ed Hardy shirts Mike and Jeff!*

Trevor Lewis and Colin Fraser can both take faceoffs too, so expect some line juggling to happen for Game 2. I'd try and figure out what Daryl Sutter's going to do, but I don't even think he knows yet. 

Possibilities based on last games scratches:
- Kyle Clifford (most likely not. practiced yesterday in red "no-contact" jersey)
- Brad Richardson (could potentially add an offensive spark, based on history of coming off healthy scratch)
- Any of the several AHL guys that were called up but won't see any playing time. Names to keep in the back of your mind; Brandon Kozun, Anthony Stewart. Both right wings, and I've heard their names before, so if that doesn't mean anything I don't know what does. 

Also, Torres may or may not be suspended for a few games, but aside from causing injury to the other team he's basically a non-factor. 

I'll leave you with a pic I took from last the men's bathroom...between the first and second periods...

If you can't read it clearly, that's a tiny bottle of Taaka vodka. If you've never heard of it, consider yourself blessed. If you have, I feel your pain. Like, literal pain. I've felt it too...

So shout out to the Kings fan that smuggled this in. I'm sure it probably wasn't worth the feeling of Satan's saliva running down your throat to feel that less than $9.25/beer buzz.

Taaka 'bout giving up 35 shots...

If you have anything to say about this post; agree, disagree, were hazed with Taaka vodka and want to share, etc. feel free to comment.

And be sure to follow me on twitter @SuttersLonghorn

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