Category Archives: 2011 Playoffs

Game 4: Kings can’t stave off Shark attack, find themselves adrift

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, right, is scored on by San Jose Sharks defenseman Jason Demers during the second period in Game 4 of a first-round NHL Stanley Cup playoffs hockey series, Thursday, April 21, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Kings left wing Ryan Smyth, left, and San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi, of Finland, watch the puck during the first period in Game 4 of a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs series, Thursday, April 21, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Game 4: Sharks 6, Kings 3

To peep out all the videos online about this game, check out today’s Hockeywood Dailies.

Expectations in L.A. were high for Game Four, especially since it was the first game since the epic meltdown. After all, if the Kings came back and won the game to tie the series, all the negativity surrounding Game Three would be muffled slightly.

Instead, the Kings were once again outgunned by the high-octane Sharks to push L.A. to the brink of elimination. And no amount of timeouts would ever change that fact.

Remember, the Sharks had seven players with at least 20 goals in the regular season. Talk about offensive balance. That said, it doesn’t seem that impressive until you see how effective they can be when that offensive machine is clicking on al cylinders.The Kings got a front row view of that on Thursday night.

Jonathan Quick and the Kings survived a frenzied Shark attack in the first period. Quick especially came up big, with huge saves on point-blank shots by Joe Pavelski, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau. However, the Kings couldn’t crack the Sharks defense, who looked equally as focused.

It was during the second period that the wheels fell off. Drew Doughty just egged on by veteran Scott Nichol and both get tossed for roughing. When you have a fourth-line crappy player (who only played a tick under seven minutes) negate your top defenseman (who led all skaters with 26+ minutes), bad things are going to happen.

Playing four-on-four and with Doughty in the box, the Sharks quickly struck twice. Then Nichol does a blade job after Matt Greene pops him in the head to start squirting out some Type AB to draw a four-minute major. Ryane Clowe scored his second of the game to make it 3-0.

The official top three stars of the game had Clowe and rookie Logan Couture as the top two, but really the star of the game was Nichol, whose heads-up play and paper-thin skin positioned the Sharks to take Game Four.

3-0 lead? Game over? Not so fast… Coach Terry Murray finally does something fans have been imploring him to do: he took a timeout. The Kings come right back and get goals from Brad Richardson and Justin Williams to make it 3-2 right before the third period. It looked like there was plenty of fight left in the Kings. Maybe there is something to taking a timeout to allow the team to regroup.

Third period, however, the Sharks finished off the game with three more goals to push the game out of reach. Too bad Murray didn’t have more than one timeout.

Truth be told, the Sharks are just a better team. Especially with Anze Kopitar out, the Kings’ only hope was to shut down the Sharks defensively. But even then, Kopitar’s two-way play is desperately missed. Quick can only do so much, and the defense can only lock down so many Sharks. Problem, the Sharks are really like a pack of reef sharks. They hunt in packs and come at you in waves.

Game Five is back at the Shark Tank, and nothing would be better than to steal another in San Jose. But after giving up 12 goals in two games, I’m not so sure that may happen.

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick stops a San Jose Sharks shot during the first period in Game 4 of a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs series Thursday, April 21, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)• AP: Sharks beat Kings 6-3 to take 3-1 series lead

The Kings had a 5-on-3 for much of the final 3 minutes after Dany Heatley was penalized for tripping and Nichol got a 10-minute misconduct, but they failed to convert. The frustrated Kings got two 10-minute misconducts themselves in the closing seconds.

• LA Times: Kings’ defense and season are teetering after 6-3 loss to Sharks in Game 4

The identity the Kings had sweated and strained to build over six grueling months was shattered this week in two playoff losses to the San Jose Sharks, defeats that left the Kings at the brink of elimination and shoved them backward in their apparently never-ending rebuilding process.

• LAKings.com: Kings nipped by Sharks

The Kings now trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, and face elimination when they face the Sharks in Game 5 in San Jose on Saturday night. After a 15-minute, closed-door meeting, the Kings seemed frustrated, and with good reason.

• NHL.com: Sharks beat Kings 6-3 to take 3-1 series lead 

For a while Thursday night it looked like the San Jose Sharks might become the latest team to squander a rather hefty lead in a Stanley Cup playoff game. A couple of Joes – Sharks centers Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski – made sure it didn’t happen.

Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings collides with Jonathan Quick #32 in the net as Joe Pavelski #8 of the San Jose Sharks tries to score in the first period of game four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on April 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
They said it

“We were one of the best defensive teams in the league this year. This is totally unacceptable, and we’re letting ourselves down. This is crunch time. A lot of work went into this, to get to the playoffs. We don’t want to let it slide away. Just like last game, we’ve got to pick up our pace. We’re going to San Jose to win, and get this thing back here.” – Justin Williams, on the game.

“Stop them from scoring six goals a game. We’re not going to win a game if they score six goals a game. It’s the just the way it is. We’ve had success in scoring goals in the series fortunately, but we’re not an offensive team, we’re a defensive team, and if we’re letting in that many goals we’re in a lot of trouble. We can’t let them score.” – Jack Johnson, on the need for improvement.

“They scored a couple big goals on the 4-on-4 to get things going, a couple back-to-back, and then followed it up with a power-play goal. We battled back. We just had some missed coverages again. I don’t know. It’s tough.” – Justin Williams, on when the game turned.

“You can’t lose Doughty to Nichol. But Nichol, give him credit. He’s the reason why they won tonight. Because they scored two goals on it, and then they end up scoring a goal on the double-minor, Greene in the box. So it’s three goals directly responsible from Nichol’s play.” – Terry Murray, on the game.

Sharks push Kings to the brink of elimination

Here’s Fox Sports’ postgame coverage, with interviews with Willie Mitchell and coach Terry Murray.

 Here’s Jonathan Quick’s comments after the game.

Here’s Justin Williams, after the game.

Jack Johnson sums up the game in one word: embarrassing.

Here’s Joe Thornton, literally seconds after the game, talking about the Sharks’ win.

Here’s Dan Boyle talking after the game.

Here’s Sharks coach Todd McLellan’s postgame presser.

THI’s Playoff Special Game Four: Kings outgunned, outplayed by Sharks

Hockeywood Insider podcastGame Four won’t make anyone forget the massive disappointment from Game Three. But then again, what would?

Matt and Jesse are relatively calm about the whole situation. After all, the Kings barely got into the playoffs, and the Sharks are a really GOOD team. Our expectations are tempered and our demeanor is reserved… until Jesse starts in on game introductions. Then all hell breaks loose. That’s when the flood gates open, and everything starts tumbling out.

First it’s the lack of atmosphere, to whether Jonathan Bernier should get the nod over Jonathan Quick, whether Terry Murray should be fired, why he didn’t pull Quick in a 6-3 game to try and fire up his team, how TV timeouts kill power plays, and much more.

It’s a venting of massive proportions, but tastefully done. Don’t forget, you can subscribe on iTunes, so you can get the podcast before anyone else does. And don’t forget to like the show on Facebook.

Coming Attractions: Game Four pregame videos

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Here’s NHL On the Fly’s preview for Game Four.

Here’s the BlackBerry preview of Game Four.

Here’s ESPN’s Matthew Barnaby breaking down the Game Three collapse.

Here’s LAKings.com’s Daryl Evans, talking with Matt Greene on Wednesday.

Here’s Pierre LeBrun talking with Ryan Smyth after Wednesday’s practice.

Here’s Jack Johnson after Wednesday’s practice.

Here’s Jonathan Quick’s comments after Wednesday’s practice.

Here’s coach Terry Murray’s comments after Wednesday’s practice.

Here’s Sharks head coach Todd McLellan’s comment prior to the game.

And here’s Joe Thornton, from Wednesday.

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Playoff Game 3: Sharks capitalize on epic Kings meltdown

Devin Setoguchi #16 of the San Jose Sharks scores against Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on April 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll waits for the linesman to drop the puck during the first period in Game 3 of a first-round NHL Stanley Cup playoffs hockey series against the San Jose Sharks, Tuesday, April 19, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Game 3: Sharks 6, Kings 5, overtime


To peep out all the videos online about this game, check out today’s Hockeywood Dailies.

Four goals in the first 21 minutes by the Kings turned Staples Center into a raucous animal house. By the end of the night, it was quieter than the morgue on CSI.

The Kings had a prime opportunity to take a 2-1 lead over the Sharks in the Western Conference Quarters. Instead, an often lackluster and scattered squad allowed the battle-testedSharks to make a drataic comeback at Staples Center.

The party got start with two quick goals Willie MItchell and Kyle Clifford, followed by a Michal Handzus goal at the end of the first period. Brad Richardson’s goal in the second period was the tenth and last shot Sharks goalie Antti Neimi faced.

Staples was rocking, celebrating a sure Kings victory. That’s why Patrick Marleau’s goal later in the second period was met by dismissive waves by Kings fans. There’s no way the Kings could choke away a four goal lead, was there?

Well…

Five goals later, the Kings found themselves faced with the Sharks circling their life raft, waiting for that fatal blow that would demolish the boat. They were able to last 23 minutes. That’s when Devin Setoguchi’s strike collapsed the Kings’ hopes, shifting the home ice advantage back to NoCal.

Disheartening loss? Sure. Worst loss ever? No. There’s plenty of hockey to play in this series. Coming into the playoffs, the Kings weren’t exactly hitting on all cylinders. And despite losing Anze Kopitar to injury, the Kings have been in each of the three games thus far in the playoffs. Two games went to overtime, that how close these games have been.

So temper your disappointment, Kings fans. Game Three will certainly go down as a complete meltdown by the franchise. But it’s how the team responds in Game Four that’s important.

Head Coach Terry Murray of the Los Angeles Kings stands on the bench against the San Jose Sharks in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on April 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
• AP: Sharks rally from 4 down to beat Kings 6-5 in OT

The Kings were cruising along with a four-goal lead. Then came an offensive barrage by the San Jose Sharks so swift and stunning that Los Angeles never could answer.

• LA Times: Kings turn four-goal lead into 6-5 overtime loss to Sharks in Game 3

One by one the Kings insisted this was only one loss, only one setback on what they still hope will be a long playoff trail.  But their body language and the somber tone of their voices after their 6-5 overtime playoff loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday suggested this defeat will sting for a long time.

• Mercury News: Sharks rally from 4-0 deficit to stun the Kings in overtime

The Kings chased Antti Niemi to the bench 44 seconds into the second period with goals by Willie Mitchell, Kyle Clifford, Michal Handzus and Brad Richardson on their first 10 shots, but backup Antero Niittymaki let only one shot by Ryan Smyth past him of the 12 he faced after that.

• LAKings.com: Kings ousted in overtime

The series turned to Los Angeles after the teams split the two games in San Jose, and each team regained the services of a player. Jarret Stoll returned after a one-game suspension for his hit on San Jose defenseman Ian White, who missed Game 2 because of the hit.

• NHL.com: Sharks rally to stun Kings 6-5 in OT

The Sharks became just the fourth team in playoff history to overcome a deficit of four or more goals –the first since Minnesota rallied to beat Chicago 5-4 on April 28, 1985.

Kyle Clifford #13, Wayne Simmonds #17 and Rob Scuderi #7 of the Los Angeles Kings stand on the ice prior to the game against the San Jose Sharks in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on April 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)
They said it


“They’re a fast offensive team, and if we give them transition plays, they can find lanes in open areas to get some goals. That’s kind of what happened on that overtime goal. They transitioned it from their end, but it was pretty quick. Like I said, they have good forwards.” – Dustin Brown, on how to clean up the defense.


“I just thought it was the first 10 minutes of the second
period. We got the goal right away. That’s great, but I thought after
that we had a lot of immaturity in our game, not doing the same things
that we did in the first two games and the first period of this game.
Eventually it comes back to bite us.” – Rob Scuderi, on when the game got away.


“The second period. I think the whole thing. They had a great period, and we made some mistakes. We also gave it to them. We gave them that period. I thought they made some good plays, but we did everything we could to help them out there.” – Matt Greene, on where the game got away from the Kings.

“Well, we bounced back in the third period. We weren’t getting shots through but (had) the right attitude, as far as getting back to doing what we needed to do, to play the game the right way. Then you get yourself into the overtime. So we bounced back from the disaster in the second period to play much better. I already addressed it at the group, at the end of both periods, the second and the third. So everybody knows what’s on my mind.” – Terry Murray, on how to overcome this loss.

Kings allow Sharks to come back from monster deficit

Here’s the NHL On The Fly’s analysis of Game Three.

Here’s the Fox Sports postgame comments from Dustin Brown and Terry Murray.Here’s the extended comments from Brown.

Here’s Matt Greene answering questions after the disappointing loss.

Rob Scuderi had a quick word to say after the game.

Here’s Terry Murray’s postgame presser.

From across the hall, here’s the Sharks’ Joe Pavelski comments to the media.

And here’s Sharks coach Todd McLellan’s presser deep in the bowels of Staples.

THI’s Playoff Special Game Three: Kings get nipped by Sharks

The Hockeywood Insider podcastGame Three was heartbreaking for sure, but far from the worst loss in franchise history. Want to know why? Listen to the podcast and get enlightened.

Jesse and I mull over the Kings disappointing loss to the San Jose Sharks in Game Three of the Western Conference Playoffs. And while the Kings dropped a 4-0 lead, Jesse becomes the voice of reason (!) There’s a long way to go in this series, and the Kings got away from what worked for them in Game Two.

We discuss what exactly went wrong, how the momentum shifted, which players responded (The Wolfman Line) and which ones disappeared (Drew and Jack). We also discuss other topics, such as the timeout issue, whether Terry Murray will get fired and why exactly was Jesse in a foul mood Tuesday.

Don’t forget, you can subscribe on iTunes, so you can get the podcast before anyone else does. And don’t forget to like the show on Facebook. The Hockeywood Insider, dedicated to bringing you fresh hockey conversation that you just can’t find anywhere in SoCal!

Coming Attractions: Game Three pregame videos

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Here’s NHL On the Fly’s preview for Game Three.

Here’s Ryan Smyth, talking after Tuesday’s practice.

Here’s the injured Anze Kopitar, talking to Kings Vision on Tuesday.

Here’s Alexei Ponikarovsky’s comments after practice Tuesday.

And here’s Terry Murray’s presser prior to the game Tuesday afternoon.

Here’s Joe Thornton’s pregame comments after Tuesday’s practice.

And here’s Sharks coach Todd McLellan’s pregame press conference.

Here’s Jack Johnson, who went on NHL Live on Monday.

Here’s Drew Doughty after practice on Monday in El Segundo.

Here’s Daryl Evans interviewing Kyle Clifford for Kings Vision on Monday.

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