In the interest of creativity, I decided to ‘live tweet’ during Game 3 of the first round match-up between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, as well as take pictures during various key moments of the game, so that I could compile a ‘diary’ recapping my personal experience at Staples Center. I’ve added in some commentary along the way.
[My Thoughts: Pia Toscano became a darling of Kings fans during the team's magical run to the 2012 Stanley Cup, and I don't think that there is ANYONE that Kings fans would prefer to see singing the National Anthem before playoff games. This girl can sing, and she always gets the crowd hyped before a game--I know I was after watching her sing her heart out!]
[My Thoughts: While the Kings were down 1-0 at the end of the 1st period, they seemed to be playing their style of game again, as opposed to how they had played in Games 1 and 2. In real time, Brent Burns' goal appeared to have been deflected past Jonathan Quick, but replays later showed that the puck simply fluttered (not by design) into the net off of Burns' stick. Quick's save with about 10 seconds to go was amazing--although seemingly pedestrian, by his lofty standards. The crowd was slightly uneasy, but still hopeful that the Kings would win. Basically, so far, so good.]
[My Thoughts: The Marian Gaborik goal was a thing of beauty--it was pretty obvious from the way he was gliding up ice on a breakaway that he was going to find a way to get the puck past Antti Niemi--absolutely the type of scoring play the Kings were expecting when they traded for him. Disappointing that the Kings allowed the Sharks to tie the game, but with the Kings starting the 3rd period with a minute remaining on a power play, things were looking good. Jarret Stoll really caught my eye during the 2nd period--seemingly hitting every Sharks player in sight, and hitting them all hard. Having also scored the Kings' first goal, it was great to see him so active--it had been awhile since he had impacted a game so significantly in a positive way.]
[My Thoughts: I was honestly shocked that the Sharks tied the game--they say that the NHL is a '3-2' league, and that's exactly what I was thinking when the Kings took a 3-2 lead early in the period. The 'vibe' inside Staples Center was really positive at that point, and I definitely didn't have a good feeling after the Sharks tied it; but they pelted Quick with shots all period, and I guess it was only a matter of time. On the game-tying goal, Quick had actually denied Tomas Hertl twice with his left pad, but Hertl persisted until a final whack at the puck got it under Quick's pad. Looking back, the Kings were actually pretty fortunate to get through to overtime.]
[My Thoughts: I think that my last tweet said it all--the Kings completely dominated the overtime period until the Sharks managed to keep the puck in the Kings' zone for more than a few seconds, and with a lot of traffic in front of Quick, Patrick Marleau just barely 'flicked' the puck with a back-hand shot that managed to find the back of the net. To say that the crowd was stunned would be an understatement. Despite having been dominated in Games 1 and 2 in San Jose, I think that the crowd was certain that the Kings would win Games 3 and 4, then go back to San Jose tied 2-2.]
So now the Kings have to forget about the 3-0 deficit in the series, and try to win ‘one game at a time’. It obviously sounds like a cliche, and it is, but if the Kings win Game 4 at home, and manage to sneak out of San Jose with a victory in Game 5, they come back home for Game 6 only down 3-2. As Jeff Carter and Mike Richards can tell you from their collective experience playing on the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers’ team that overcame a 3-0 playoff series deficit to the Boston Bruins, game-to-game momentum can take off like a freight train. Of course, the odds are clearly NOT in the Kings’ favor, but to let the rival Sharks sweep you out of the playoffs, in your own building no less, would be humiliating, at the very least. The
epic hopeful comeback begins tonight…