Do NOT blame the officials. This was one of the best officiate performances I’ve seen in a while. While you might want to say the Trevor Lewis goaltender interference call was bad, he made no attempt to NOT run into Niemi. Intent is an important part of officiating. While Lewis was being pushed, he did not stop, slow down or attempt to change direction. Do not lower yourself to the level of San Jose fans who are quickly deleting all of their comments about game 2′s officiating.
This was an extremely physical game which is no surprise to anyone who’s seen either of these teams play. Stuart’s hit on Williams was brutal yet clean. Carter’s hit on Couture was awkward but clean (and remember that he blocked a shot with his hand earlier in the game which lent itself to his limping off the ice.) Bodies were flying and falling as warriors and heavy slabs of seafood collided. The decision to slot Pearson tonight turned out to be an odd one as Ellerby’s play was tepid. He mishandled the puck several times which resulted in turnovers in the corners of the defensive zone. With Pearson out, Sutter could have slotted Martinez tonight as a defensive rotation. He wrestled with this decision all day and it’s easy to criticize in hindsight. The 2 game advantage going into the situation had to be a factor in his decision making process since a slight risk is more easily taken in such a situation.
While San Jose outshot LA 40 to 27, much of it was from low percentage shooting areas. The boys adapted tonight and were decent at slowing San Jose’s approach into the neutral zone. Faceoff wins were closer tonight even with home ice advantage working against us. The biggest problem appeared to be lack of chemistry and failed attempts at stretch passes and two line passes. Dustin Brown drove into the offensive zone several times then failed at an attempt to pass (as John Hoven pointed out, Brown may want to attempt a drop pass one of these evenings.) Shots from the point went wide more often than not as Regehr and Muzzin attempted to fire off shots.
Both teams did a great job defensively but San Jose did a better job at agitating. The Richards and Gomez coincidental penalties are an example of this. Another example would be the little potshots taken at Quick again tonight where no penalties were called due to scuffling on both sides. Dustin Brown’s slashing was pretty blatant seeing as he shattered Pavelski’s stick. Regehr’s hooking call was a penalty he was probably willing to take in an attempt to stop a low slot shot with Quick out of position. Lewis’ penalty was due to an attempt at a short handed drive with the boys desperate to generate a goal. San Jose got under our skin and it showed.
Toffoli looked sharp throughout the game. He was generating offense, breaking up plays and throwing his body around effectively. Pairing him with Penner seems to be working well and I hope we continue to see it.
You can’t win a game without scoring. With our boys in the box for 12 minutes in a 60 minute game, it makes offense generation difficult. We need to stick with shorter passes and more cautious puck protection in order to break into the San Jose zone rather than going for fast drives and missed opportunities.
0-1 Boyle with assists by Marleau and Pavelski
Powerplay goal, Muzzin gets a delay of game for sending the puck over the glass. (There, San Jose fans, stop complaining about the Vlaski call. You got your recompense.) Directly off the faceoff win by San Jose (which they’ve been dominating). Pavelski wins it to Marleau, Marleau passes to Boyle. Boyle winds up and fires off a shot, Thornton is screening Quick. A rocket of a shot, Quick can’t see it.
1-1 Toffoli unassisted
Niemi goes out to play the puck. Passes it along the boards, Lewis applying pressure. Guppy goes for a quick pass and with a brilliant read of the play Toffoli snatches it up and puts it past Niemi. Snatches the pass, kicks it to his stick and flips it up over Niemi off the backhand. Stuart apparently confused jerseys and turns it over, err Lewis applied some great pressure and Toffoli read the play well. Here’s a big man hug for you, Toffy.
1-2 Couture with assists by Marleau and Thornton
Overtime game winning goal. Most of the offense generated here was due to the 5 on 3 situation. Regehr barely got back onto the ice before the game winning goal. Voynov broke up a great one timer opportunity shortly before. Thornton has the puck near the point and passes it quickly to Marleau at the left side of the crease. Marleau quickly passes it to Couture, and Quick starts to slide to the right side of the crease in an attempt to protect the empty side of the net. Couture read Quick’s movements and dumped it in the corner he just left. Ellerby and Voynov were both in good position to break up the play but neither of them managed to cut off a pass. Quick was screened a bit by Marleau prior to the pass and had to make a snap decision just as the shot was taken. He assumed (good probability) that Couture would fire one off to the right but Couture makes a great decision and fires it where Quick just moved away from.
Quick ended the game with a .950% stopping 38 of 40 shots. There were several amazing saves in here and huge stops. If the announcers said “Quick says no!” one more time I was going to be tempted to mute the audio. This loss does not come down on his shoulders since the team in front of him spent plenty of time in the time out box for no no’s and one goal typically won’t win a game.
Niemi played a decent game. He ended the game with a .963% stopping 26 of 27 shots. Only a few shots were good chances seeing as San Jose did a good job of keeping most shots to the outside. The boys had a hard time getting into the offensive zone tonight which made Niemi’s job noticeably easier.
Martinez sits as a result of Sutter’s disappointment in his play in game 2.
Clifford still out with injury
Greene still out with injury
Stoll still out with injury
Nolan sits for Pearson
Both Toffoli and Pearson are in tonight, Ellerby in for Martinez. This is Pearson’s NHL debut
Boxscore, Stats for the Game
Shots: LA 27, SJS 40