LAK 2/SJS 3 (Shootout final)
Step 1- Finish my shift at work.
Step 2- Race home (if you can call the 405 parking lot that I slowly stutter stepped through racing)
Step 3- Quickly drive to Hollywood Hooters for the Watch Party.
That’s how the evening started. Then the game began.
A couple of notes here. Niemi was HOT this game. Very quick, seemed to have XRay vision with all the screening the boys were doing in front of the net. San Jose was playing a bit dirty at the beginning, so the boys returned the favor.
Home ice advantage worked in SJ’s favor quite a bit here. We lost more faceoffs than usual, and in several faceoffs, our centers were falling to the ice. (In case you aren’t aware, home ice advantage provides the home team with a couple of gimmes. One of these is that the away team’s center must place his stick on the ice first, providing the home team a better chance at countering and timing their draw)
SJS- Brent Burns 0-1
Penner turnover to Burns in the slot. This is not Penner’s only turnover tonight, nor will it be the last. Burns scoops it up off of Penner’s weird puck handling, pops it up over Quick’s pad, the always tough between pad and glove. The puck winds up with an odd bounce/flip, and Quick just isn’t Quick enough. Due to the quick turnover, D really isn’t there. Responsibility for this goal shared between Penner’s turnover and Quick getting beat in that very rough area.
SJS- TJ Galiardi 0-2
An uncharacteristic turnover for the #1 line. Doughty and Regehr on D, Regehr is looking good. Goes into the corner, digs it out, can’t quite get it to Williams. Quick pass across the crease for a one timer, slides right past Doughty, Galiardi taps it in. Muzzin would have thrown himself on the ice, perhaps Doughty’s knee was still paining him. He did attempt to get a stick in between to break it up, just missed it by a fraction of an inch. Because Quick is covering short side and depending on Doughty to cover the one timer, it gets past. Great pass.
LAK- Jake Muzzin 1-2
Preceded by a game changing glove save, Niemi stops a laser from Richards. Face off after the cover. Another glove save from Niemi, stops yet another Richards laser. Niemi had to reach up and around Brown to snatch the puck. Face off, pass to Muzzin at the point, goal here is very much thanks to Lewis’ excellent screening of Niemi. Lewis keeps positioning himself right in front of Niemi, then quickly narrows his profile to allow Muzzin’s shot to pass him.
LAK- Dustin Brown 2-2
Delayed penalty against SJS. Kopitar going full speed gets off a quick wrist shot, and Niemi gives up one of the only rebounds he’ll give all night. Gets a bit of a glove on it, not enough for the play to be called dead, and Brown quickly dumps it in. Bit of a garbage goal, but without the very fast wrist shot from Kopitar, and the quick hands of Brown, this goal doesn’t happen.
Jonathan Quick- Saves 33 of 35 shots, ending the game with a .942%. Made several very, very big saves. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vj_JazXuPo) Definitely heating up, and other than the empty net goal against Anaheim a few days back (bleh) he is looking like the birth of Carter Anthony Quick has inspired him. Positioning was good all night, reflexes good, could have easily given up more than he did.
Antti Niemi- Saves 41/43 shots. ending with a .953%. Niemi definitely won the game for the Sharks tonight, as he’s done quite a bit this year. You can see the results of his playing in the offseason. Very fast, great positioning, and while the Kings (for the most part) outplayed the Sharks tonight, Niemi kept them in there. Also, 3/3 saves in the shootout against Quick’s 2/3 gives the Sharks the extra point needed to gain a tie in the standings.
Healthy scratches for tonight: Colin Fraser, Alec Martinez, Nick Shore (new prospect brought up) and Tyler Toffoli. Richardson and Penner are worrying me, so I won’t be surprised if they wind up being healthy scratches in the near future.
The Doughty/Regehr pairing is still working very well. Regehr playing stay at home D allows Doughty to play a bit more offensively, and we’ve got another hard hitter.
Another worry of the night is Clifford. Several turn overs or lost opportunities, but he’s a grinder. When Clifford’s on the ice, we’re basically looking to kill time until our 1st/2nd lines can get back on the ice.