In Soviet Russia, Defense Scores on You (LAK vs STL 5/8/2013, Round 1 Game 5 Recap)

Herald’s Take

The first period had me a little worried.  Sutter sat Ellerby to bring in Toffoli which of course had me on pins and needles.  Toffoli is a great player but he lacks the size and experience for this series.  The kid made up for it with pure heart and determination as he doggedly chased down pucks and showed no fear when taking the body.  There was a distinct lack of shenanigans in Quick’s crease tonight (I’m looking at you Perron.)  Muzzin turned over the puck so often Twitter decided to label poor hockey play as pulling “a Muzzin.”  I would be pretty surprised if Muzzin doesn’t ride the pine on Friday in favor of Ellerby.  If he hadn’t already, Martinez definitely earned his playoff slot tonight with a beautiful diving save at the edge of the crease.

The boys are now up 3 to 2.  After being down by 2.  Do not overlook the significance in that.  In NHL history, teams that were down by 2 games have only come back to win in 12% of cases.  And this happened in Scott Trade Center.  With the boys strength at home, I fully expect the series to end on Friday.

Penner and Brown looked like they were almost cut from the same cloth tonight.  Penner was absolutely ferocious at digging pucks out of corners, setting up plays and screening.  Lewis is known for his skating ability but tonight he also had 1/10 the team’s hits.  Doughty played over 33 minutes tonight and still managed to pull out a great coast to coast play that almost set up a beautiful play.  Our boys are hungry, and it shows.  As Kopitar said, “It was too fun not to do it again.”

I noticed throughout the night that Kopi took over Doughty’s job of defending Quick.  Doughty had already drawn a penalty or two this series defending his netminder so it makes sense that someone who the officials aren’t necessarily waiting to blow a whistle on would take over.  Big hit on Polak, I’m glad he wasn’t injured.  St. Louis’ fans don’t need any more excuses, and I hate to see a player get injured regardless.

At one point, Clifford lost his stick.  He managed to skate to the bench with the puck between his feet in order to retrieve a stick while protecting the puck.  More Clifford love is appropriate tonight.

Ready for round 2?  It’s just around the corner.  

Side note, Sutter’s focus and attention level is pretty admirable.

SutterAttentionLevelOver9000

Goal Breakdown

1-0 Carter, with assists by Richards and Doughty
Carter wins the faceoff against Oshie and immediately turns to position himself in front of the net.  He dropped it back to Doughty who fired off a rocket.  Richards gets a stick on it to attempt a redirect and it altered the rebound.  Carter managed to get inside of the STL defense and dumps the rebound back into the net.  It definitely helped that Oshie fell down after losing the faceoff.  And all of this happened in the first 14 seconds of the 2nd period.

1-1 Steen, with an assist from Muzzin, err Jackman
Set up by a turnover from Muzzin.  Jackman didn’t really have anything to do with this goal, the pass was LONG before Steen’s goal.  Steen took a shot then chased down his own rebound into the corner.  He then forced the turnover himself, came around the net, and put puck to twine.  He displayed a lot of patience and timing here as he waited until he had the correct angle.  Great play by Steen.

2-1 Carter, with assists by Kopitar and Richards
Only 54 seconds into the 3rd period, power play goal.  Perfectly set up one timer here.  Carter was again behind the STL defense who were all facing towards Kopitar and Richards.  Elliott was covering short side and left the net open for Carter.  Kopitar drove deep enough towards the net that Elliott and the defense assumed he would be taking a shot but he passed it across the crease instead.  Sobotka turned around but didn’t quite get there in time.  Simple work for Carter to tap it in the net.

2-2 Pietrangelo, with assists by Schwartz and Backes
Empty net goal, STL pulled Elliott.  Backes wins the face off and gets it back to Schwartz.  Schwartz quickly passes it to Pietrangelo at the point.  Pietrangelo fires off a wrist shot, Schwartz has great positioning to either screen or deflect.  He opts instead to jump up and over the puck which winds up being a good call on his part.  With the massive amount of traffic in front of the net, Quick can’t locate the puck.

3-2 OT Game Winning Goal by Voynov, with assists by Kopitar and Williams
Voynov gets his stick on a STL shot, reducing the power on it.  Deflects behind the net, Brown sets a good block/pick ,Williams picks it up.  Williams skates up the boards.  Voynov sees his chance and pinches, trusting his teammates to drop back and cover him.  Williams passes to Kopitar at center ice who quickly taps it across to Voynov.  Voynov shoots off a pure snipe in that ever troublesome “over the pad under the glove” area.  Voynov’s second game winning goal of the series.  Skadi, I love this man.

Netminder Breakdown

Quick ended the game with a .944% stopping 34 of 36 shots.  He looked sharp most of the night.  He might have been able to stop the Steen goal if he wasn’t so low to the ice, but he was in position for the wrap around.  He kept LA in the first period when St. Louis was up 9 shots to LA’s 3.  STL still outshot LA 36 to 25, so Quick had a strong showing.

Elliott ended the game with a .880% stopping 22 of 25 shots.  He made a lot of big saves and was beaten largely due to gaffes on the defensive line.  Carter’s first goal was due to him getting  between the defense and Elliott.  Second goal was a power play goal featuring STL defense allowing Carter to sneak up behind them again.  No one was watching him and Elliott was trusting them to cover the pass.  Third goal was an absolute snipe.  Voynov put it into one of the hardest spots to save for any goalie.

Roster Breakdown

Scratches:
Berube (recalled goalie from Ontario Reign)
Ellerby (why he was benched instead of Muzzin, no one understands)
Greene (probably going to sit out most of the playoffs)
Martin Jones (recalled goalie from Manchester Monarchs)
Jordan Nolan (Sutter is going heavy defense, and wanted to try Toffoli out tonight)
Brad Richardson (see above)
Nick Shore (prospect from University of Denver)

Boxscore, Stats for the Game

Shots: LAK 25, STL 36

CATEGORY LAK STL
POWER PLAYS 1/2 0/1
HITS 30 41
FACEOFF WINS 32 32
GIVEAWAYS 2 7
TAKEAWAYS 7 7
BLOCKED SHOTS 21 14
PENALTY MINUTES 2 4

Watch Party

I missed the watch party tonight.  I did hear from a friend that attended that tonight was absolutely intense.  The last one I attended at ESPN zone had every fan spread out all over the top floor.  Tonight had everyone in the same room and it was very intimate and electric.  Or so I’m told.

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