Game 1 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals kicked off between the defending Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings and the San Jose Sharks on Monday night. Slava Voynov was the first to score in the series. Voynov ripped a shot passed Antii Niemi to give the Kings the 1-0 lead with a little over a minute left in the first period. About 12 minutes into the 2nd period, Voynov took another shot that ended up in the back of the net. Mike Richards was credited with the goal on a tip. With about a minute left in the 2nd period, Raffi Torres put a big hit on Jarret Stoll. Torres received a two minute minor for charging on the play, but it was evident that Torres had made contact with the head of Stoll. Brendan Shanahan once again, lashed the whip and suspended Torres for the remainder of the series, instead of a specific number of games. Torres got off easy in my opinion, he’s a repeat offender, and there it was obvious Torres put his shoulder into Stoll’s head. Coincidental or not, I think he deserved a more extensive punishment. The game remained 2-0 in favor of the Kings when it came to its end. Jonathan Quick made 35 saves in his 2nd shutout of the 2013 playoffs, and the 6th of his career.
Game 2 started on Thursday night in Los Angeles. Three minutes into the game, Jeff Carter scored the first of the game to give the Kings the 1-0 lead again. Despite outshooting the Kings 11-4 in the first, the Sharks went into the locker room trailing the Kings. Drew Doughty scored on a beautiful shot from the point on the powerplay to give the Kings the 2 goal edge 6 minutes into the period. But then things started to change. The Sharks finally scored. Patrick Marleau scored his 5th of the playoffs to bring the Sharks within 1 half way through the second period. Brad Stuart, scored a few minutes later to tie the game. The Sharks had solved the greatest question known to man, when it comes playoff time, “How the hell do you beat Jonathan Quick?” Traffic, bodies, and GREAT shots. The game stayed tied at two until Marc-Eduoard Vlasic pinched in on a delayed penalty and buried Brad Stuart’s rebound to give the Sharks their first lead of the series. The Kings weren’t ready to go down that easy though, with a little under 3 minutes left in the game Brad Stuart was assessed a two minute penalty for tripping. A few seconds into the penalty, Vlasic tried to clear the puck, but sent it straight into the stands. Now please, please, please, I am begging you, NHL. Please change this rule. I hate the delay of game penalty. A team’s season should not be decided on a missed attempt to clear the puck down the ice. I hate it, and I really hope someone higher up is thinking the same way I am, and they get this thing changed. With 1:43 remaining in the game, Dustin Brown smacked home a rebound to tie the game for the Kings. Just moments later, still on a powerplay, Tyler Toffoli shot the puck off of Niemi and right onto the stick of Trevor Lewis to give the Kings the 4-3 lead with only 1:21 left in the game.
The Kings would go on to take a 2-0 series lead over the San Jose Sharks. This isn’t how I expected this series to go, but the Kings capitalized on the opportunities they were give late in game 2 and for that they deserved the win. There is upside for the Sharks though. They may be down 0-2, but they get to go back home, where they have been great this year, and now the have the confidence they need knowing that it IS possible to score on Jonathan Quick.
Tags: 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Brad Stuart Brendan Shanahan Drew Doughty Dustin Brown Jarret Stoll Jeff Carter Jonathan Quick L.a. Kings Mike Richards Patrick Mareau Raffi Torres San Jose Sharks Slava Voynov Trevor Lewis Tyler Toffoli