Can the Kings rebound after a disappointing weekend?
Well it’s not like they haven’t been down 2-0 heading back to their home ice before, but what is it going to take for the Kings to even things up with a Chicago team that’s now won 5 in a row?
1. Scoring from Brown and Kopitar
Dustin Brown has only recorded 4 points this postseason and has only 1 point (a goal in Game 6 vs. San Jose) in his last 7 contests. Compare that to last season, when Brown scored 8 goals and dished out 12 assists in his team’s 20 playoff games. Kopitar, on the other hand, only has 1 goal in his last 11 games, compared with 8 goals in last year’s playoffs.
The offensive stars for the Kings so far this playoffs have been Jeff Carter, Justin Williams and Mike Richards, while defenseman Slava Voynov has also given them a big offensive lift with 4 goals and 5 assists as well, but if the Blackhawks keep putting points on the board, the Kings need two of their offensive heroes from the 2012 Stanley Cup run to turn up the volume.
2. Block the Passing Lanes
The Blackhawks didn’t lose 3 straight games all season, so when the Red Wings took games 2, 3, and 4 in the Western Conference Semi’s, there was reason for the Chicago faithful to begin getting worried. In order to get those three in a row, it took an extremely disciplined Detroit defensive effort and a masterful game plan from Mike Babcock.
The Blackhawks struggled against the Wings because of A) Jimmy Howard and B) Detroit’s perfect coverage of all key passing lanes. Chicago is at its best when they’re working together to find the open man. Everyone with a stick in Chicago red has the ability to find the back of the net.
In Sunday’s game 2, both first period goals were a result of blown coverage. The Kings defensive spacing was awful on Andrew Shaw’s goal, allowing for Viktor Stalberg to put a pass right on his stick for a golden scoring opportunity. Then at the end of the first, the Kings couldn’t get back in time and defender Brent Seabrook took advantage by receiving a perfectly timed pass from Marian Hossa and putting the Kings in a 2-0 whole early.
The Blackhawks have talented playmakers that can beat you one-on-one, but when that is their only option, they struggle a bit to find their rhythm offensively, so the Kings need to make sure not to keep feeding the beast.
3. The Marvelous Mr. Quick
This is the most obvious of the Kings staples heading into Game 3. Quick was replaced in Game 2 by Jonathan Bernier after letting in goals on back-to-back shots in the second period and only stopping 13 of 17 shots.
On his home ice, Quick has allowed 8 goals in 7 games this postseason, and was an absolute headache to the Sharks in the Conference Semi’s. If he can bounce back and prove why he’s considered one of the game’s top goaltenders when his team needs him most, the Kings will be right back in this thing.