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I Hope the Ducks are Watching How the Kings Respond to Adversity

May 24, 2013, 2:35 PM ET [23 Comments]
Steve Palumbo
San Jose Sharks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
When it comes to playoff hockey, very little separates "Team A" from "Team B." Typically a series comes down to which team controls theirs emotions better when dealing with adversity.

The Anaheim Ducks didn't respond well to the Detroit Red Wings level of desperation in games 6 and 7 and that is why they are sitting home watching the rest of the playoffs from their couch.

The Stanley Cup currently takes up residence just up the 5 freeway and with good reason. The L.A. Kings keep finding ways to sort themselves out and right the ship. After falling down 2-0 against the Blue in the opening round they settled down, played their game and let Jonathan Quick be himself.

Four consecutive one-goal wins later, they are in the second round to face the San Jose. The Kings take the first two games at home before heading up north, where they subsequently lose both games by identical scores of 2-1. Suddenly, the world in ready to write the Kings off and crown the Sharks Western Conference Champs.

Not so fast people.

How did the defending champs respond? Like champs. L.A. came out flying and set the tempo of the game from the puck drop. Quick was great and held down they fort until Anze Kopitar broke the 0-0 tie and the Kings rolled to a comfortable 3-0 victory in the (not using this term loosely) PIVOTAL game 5. It was L.A.'s largest margin of victory in these playoffs and perhaps their best game thus far. More importantly, it re-established them as contenders.

Granted the game was in Los Angeles, but all the momentum was clearly on the Sharks side. The Kings turned up their game and handled their business like, well, a champion.

The Ducks had a 3-2 series lead themselves before they wilted and dropped the last two. There is no guarantee the same thing won't happen to the Kings, BUT the two scenarios and two teams are very much different.

Anaheim was outplayed in much of the series against Detroit and never won consecutive games. Anaheim had to rally twice in the game 6 win and pulled the game out in OT. They never really established themselves as a force and let Detorit hang around. I think the Wings had to have felt great about their chances going into games 6 and 7. They didn't fear the Ducks and they made Anaheim pay dearly.

The Sharks saw the real Kings last night. The team that has won 12 consecutive home playoff games. The team that cruised to a Stanley Cup last spring and is not ready to fade away int the sunset. Somehow, I don't see all of that going out the window now that they have a 3-2 series lead.

I hope the Ducks are at home taking notes. If they want to be a Cup caliber team they have to be able to find that extra gear when they need it the most. Until then, they may find themselves watching more Kings playoff games from the comforts of home.

BTW, I know many of you despise the Kings and want the Sharks to win in the worst way. Not me. I respect this team and the way they play the game. After watching Henrik Lundqvist in these playoffs, it is becoming clearer, to me anyway, that Jonathan Quick is doing his best to steal the "League's Best Goalie" moniker away from New York's goalie. Consider me on the Kings bandwagon and why not? It certainly is a heck of a ride.

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