The Los Angeles Kings are now tied with the San Jose Sharks at two games a piece in the Western Conference semifinals.
It’s one thing to be thoroughly outplayed by the opposition. It’s another thing to have a chance to win and squander those chances. On Tuesday night in San Jose both of those were true.
If the Kings were Popeye, they came out without their spinach. From the drop of the puck they were thoroughly outworked and played by the San Jose Sharks. The Kings were scrambling, and Jonathan Quick was the omelet chef with any resemblance of control.
Partly due to a few unnecessary penalties, that continued throughout the first two periods. The Kings would be wise to blame the ice, or everyone’s stick being too curved because of their absolute inability to control the puck at all in two games at HP Pavilion. Forget tape to tape, or stick to stick because the Kings couldn’t settle the puck for anything in the vicinity of a pass.
But the Kings had a chance to win the game thanks to the excellent playoff form of Jonathan Quick. He stopped all but 2 of the 24 shots he faced, while facing more traffic in front of him than the new FastTrak lanes cause on the 110. Quick allowed 1 powerplay goal, and another that could have been prevented with a good back check from Jeff Carter.
Two royal scoring chances were not capitalized on. Despite being outplayed they were the difference in the game. The refs called off a Dustin Penner goal because the ref lost sight of the puck. It was a clear goal, and the whistle was blown too quickly. Darryl Sutter explained the refs mistake plainly
Well, I’m sure it’s in the rule book. When the whistle goes, right? So what are they going to come and tell us? They’re going to come and say they lost sight of the puck and they blew the whistle.
But Jake Muzzin also had a wide open goal from 2 feet in front of the net, which he back handed over the net. Muzzin was confident inside the Shark’s blueline despite this miss, but was slow and bullied by the Sharks everywhere else on the ice. The Kings shouldn’t have won Game 4, but they could have.
This was the first time the Kings were outworked and underprepared in the Darryl Sutter era. He has some personnel decisions to make before game 5 at STAPLES Center on Thursday at 7:30pm.