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The Key Three: April 7

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Three key aspects of the Kings' 3-2 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks...

There’s no doubt as to which team came out more prepared to start the third period. San Jose changed goalies -- apparently just to get in a little work for backup Thomas Greiss -- but everyone else kept playing, and the Sharks got a 4-on-4 goal 35 seconds into the period. That was the big one. If the Kings could have shut down the Sharks for the first five minutes of the third period, the Kings might have been able to control the rest of the period. But they didn’t, and they couldn’t. What could have been a solid, momentum-building victory over a fierce rival turned into a scramble-fest, as the Kings took penalties, chased the puck and coughed up another third-period lead.


For 35 minutes, the Kings did a good job of playing with just enough aggressiveness to stay out of the penalty box. Then, with five minutes remaining in the second period, the parade to the penalty box began. Jordan Nolan took a needless slashing penalty and Mike Richards took a boarding penalty. Then, after San Jose scored early in the third period, Jarret Stoll got called for holding the stick and Matt Greene got called for boarding. Finally, on their fourth power play, the Sharks scored the big game-tying goal. On Richards’ penalty, Logan Couture sold the call nicely, and Greene wasn’t happy with his penalty either, but the Kings needed to be more mindful of penalties.


Jonathan Quick is not the reason why the Kings lost the game, but he needs to be the reason why the Kings win games. Most of the time, he is a reason. But it’s fairly easy to see, early in games, when Quick is on top of things and when he isn’t quite as sharp. Quick is always an athletic, mobile goalie, but most of the time he seems under control, with occasionally he seems to be fighting the puck and the play. If Quick is trying to do too much, that means the Kings are usually in a bad spot, so the team’s struggles and the goalie’s struggles go hand in hand. Against a team such as San Jose -- and Vancouver -- the Kings need Quick to be sharp all the time.
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