In addition to being exciting, hockey is perhaps one of the most unpredictable sport you can watch, and this SCF matchup is only further testament to that. Much discussion has been raised regarding the importance of seeds in the NHL playoffs, sparked by the consistent deep runs that 5th seeds and under have had over the course of the last decade. Unlike Basketball, Football, or to a lesser degree, Baseball, hockey isn’t merely about how “good” your roster is. It’s much more than that.
The stars have to be aligned for a team to make it this far. Your goalie has to be hot, you need contributions from all lines, injuries cannot be in the picture, fatigue has to be be either staved off or fought through, and a little bit of help from the hockey gods doesn’t help either.
This year’s two remaining tributes from the Hunger Games that is playoff hockey are the 6th seed New Jersey Devils out of the East and the stunning 8th seed Los Angeles Kings out of the West. Hardly the match up anyone envisioned, but an interesting one to say the least. Both are hot teams with aggressive forechecks, stout defenses, and stability between the pipes. If Game 1 was any indication, this is gonna be a fun one. Buckle up.
There’s not much more to say about Jonathon Quick other than the fact that he’s good, like really really good. Any hope Devils fans had that Quick would suddenly lose his mojo after the extended break between rounds has probably been dispelled. Simply put, while he didn’t face many shots, Johnny Quick was sensational in the 18 that did find their way between the iron. He stood on his head several times and maintained such a calm and cool composure one might have thought he’d been the one with 21 years of experience and three prior trips to the Finals. (As an aside, Devils fans didn’t exactly try to shake the kid’s confidence either. Really? No “Johhhhhnnnnyyyyyy” chant? Come on.) When your netminder’s most noticeable flaw is the inability to grow a quality playoff beard, you know he’s a stud.
Marty Brodeur wan’t too shabby on the other end either, continuing to relive his glory days. The first Kings goal was probably one Marty should have had, but he made up for it with a swath of vintage Brodeur saves. You can’t blame him for the Devils’ inability to cash in on opportunities.
Devils Failed Opportunities
This loss has to sting pretty badly for the Devils. All things considered, they probably should have won. While they were outshot by LA (25-17), the Devils missed out on a staggering number of opportunities, most notably David Clarkson sending two pucks wide of completely open nets, and Zach Parise whiffing on a rebound that should have been put behind Quick via a shot, not a desperation hand-in. Particularly in the third period, New Jersey outplayed the Kings, but couldn’t cash in on their opportunities.
The Kings’ 4th Line
In what was perhaps the most surprising event of the night, the first Kings goal was scored by a guy not named Brown, Kopitar, Richards, or even King. It was scored by Colin Fraser and the Kings 4th line. Fraser, Jordan Nolan, and Brad Richardson made the most of their 11 minutes, giving the Kings an early lead and continuing to have an impact via solid defensive play and by forcing turnovers in the Devils zone. Much had been made of the Devils 4th line against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals, but last night it was LA’s bottom three that made the statement instead.
Never let Anze Kopitar get behind you
Anze Kopitar has established himself as one of the world’s best young snipers this season. The Devils learned this the hard way, as a turnover at the blue line resulted in disaster for the Rock faithful. Approximately 8:13 into the OT period, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty forced a turnover at the blue line and got it to winger Justin Williams, who flipped a pass to Anze Kopitar, and created a breakaway. Kopitar promptly deked to his left, forced Marty Brodeur to flop to the ice, and buried the puck in the back of net. The crowd groaned, Doc Emrick yelled, “he scaaarrres,” and the Kings took a 1-0 series lead.
Fan Hub Action
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
Scott Cohen May 1st
but it shouldn’t require guts. .like you said it’s nobody’s business but his own
Hisham Zameeth April 30th
best player ever…..
Kareem Musa Mayowa April 29th
We don’t need to be hopeless about the situation bryant his. Because even david villa situation also up to the level of his own to…
Maritess Lim April 28th
I still believe in KOBE’s power…… He is still the best…… He will make it possible no matter what……
mimi_aragon84 April 28th
I feel no pity for him. First of all, it is EAGLE, COLORADO, not Eagleton, secondly he enjoyed success and adulation from fans from 2003…
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