Time for Los Angeles Kings to Make History
When Patrick Marleau scored in overtime to give the San Jose Sharks a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Los Angeles Kings it appeared the Kings’ season was over. Only three teams in NHL history have ever erased a 3-0 series deficit and with the way the Kings were playing thoughts of a comeback were laughable. Now the script has changed as after grinding out a tough win in Game 4 at Staples Center and whitewashing the Sharks in San Jose in Game 5 the Kings return to Los Angeles trailing 3-2 with momentum firmly on their side. Jonathan Quick looks like the 2012 version of himself (and less like Dan Cloutier as he did in Games 1 and 2) as he is in the heads of the Sharks’ shooters after making one amazing save after another to spark the Kings’ comeback. This spectacular play from Quick has boosted the team’s confidence as the skaters know they can play their game and even if they make mistakes they have a hot goalie to cover for them.
Dustin Brown is also playing with high level confidence after recording three points over the Kings’ two wins and being reunited on the first line with star center Anze Kopitar. Kopitar and Drew Doughty were arguably the lone two Kings that played well during the team’s three losses and have maintained their strong play in the team’s wins. Doughty has had an amazing season as his offensive prowess and improving defensive acumen have made him one of the league’s top defenseman and one of the Kings’ most important players The team’s strong all-around play coupled with having two key players who were in this situation (Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in 2010 with the Philadelphia Flyers) before means overcoming this once insurmountable deficit isn’t as farfetched as it once sounded.
If the Kings want to make history they can’t go into Game 6 thinking about winning two games; they need to think about playing their game and winning every shift. This means not trying not taking stupid penalties, being responsible defensively and winning the 50/50 puck battles. If the Kings stay true to this form then a return trip to Northern California will be in order as they will almost assuredly be skating in Game 7.