Just before the start of Game One, there was a power outage at the SAP Center where the San Jose Sharks call home. But after being routed 6-3, the Los Angeles Kings wish the lights would have stayed out. Sunday night, the Kings hope to make their first “appearance” of this first round series against the Sharks and steal Game Two on the road. This task, however, appears to be an almost impossible one to accomplish.
In their last 18 games against each other, 17 of them were won by the home team. With the Sharks having the home ice advantage, this trend does not bode well for the Kings. L. A. has to steal at least one road game in this series in order to move on in the playoffs. It seems like this could never happen in Game Two, given the home records and the last abysmal showing by the Kings, but if there ever was a time to shock the Sharks on home ice, now would be the time.
The Sharks were able to dictate the pace of the first game by jumping to an early 3-0 lead, forcing the Kings to play catch up as opposed to their usual physical, puck possession and defense-first style of play. They were also out played on every single line. The Sharks, who had Raffi Torres and young phenom Thomas Hertl back in the lineup, had points scored from lines one through four. However, Jonathan Quick, along with the rest of the Kings, did not even bother to show up in this first game, but do not expect lightning to strike twice.
Jonathan Quick uncharacteristically let in five goals on just 28 shots before being benched in the third period. There had been a couple of bad breaks in Game One for the net minder that saw two goals get let in late in the first period. On both goals, Sharks players fanned on shots that bounced perfectly, on two occasions, to other Shark players that punched it in the open net. The defense in front of Quick was also rather lackluster as opposed to their normally bruising selves and definitely playing a role in the 6 goal shellacking. But the last time Quick was pulled in a playoff game was during last year’s Western Conference Finals Game Two matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks. Quick gave up four goals on just 17 shots that game, but he quickly- no pun intended- bounced back from that game by giving up just one goal in a Game Three win.
It took until the third period for the Kings to finally show up in Game One. The Kings rallied back from a 5-0 deficit in the third period and cut it to within two goals. The comeback proved to be too little, too late for Los Angeles, but moving forward, has given reason to believe that the Kings may actually show up to play from the get-go in Game Two on Sunday.
The Kings will surely have their work cut out for them in Game Two with the ever-talented San Jose Sharks, but the Sharks have yet to face the real “Kings” of the playoffs; the Kings that have made it to back-to-back Western Conference Finals; the Kings that have won more playoff series than any other team over the past two seasons. San Jose better be ready for a very physical and hard-hitting game in Game Two, as the Kings will bounce back in a way only the Kings could. If the Sharks are not able to respond to the early-and-often punches in the mouth from the Kings, it could likely determine not just how Game Two ends up, but also how the rest of this series will play out.
Commentary by Ryne Vyles