Golden Knights Game 3: Time to be more aggresive
It was once said about legendary hall of fame goalie, Turk Broda that he just needed one goal and he’d do the rest.
You have to think that this is how Jonathan Quick is feeling right now.
The Los Angeles Kings are down 2-0 in their series with the Vegas Golden Knights with a total of three goals scored against them.
Quick has taken his game to another level during those two games. He has faced 84 shots over the first two games in the series, including a 54 save performance in the double overtime loss on Friday night (or Saturday morning depending how you look at it).
The problem is even though Quick has gone into post-season Conn Smythe mode, the offense is still in regular season mode.
Not having Jake Muzzin to start the series and then losing Drew Doughty to suspension after game one, completely hindered the Kings ability to carry and maintain the puck in the offensive zone.
The offense has been so bad that it has affected their defensive play.
After gaining an early 1-0 lead in both games, the Golden Knights have sat back in their zone, which has forced the Kings attack to stand at the blue line and wait for the puck carrier to enter the zone. This forces the puck carrier to go one-on-four, which is a situation that gets immediately broken up.
Due to the fact that the Kings are standing still at the Knights’ blueline, once the Knights retrieved the turned over puck, they are able to out pace the Kings back into their own zone. This is what is creating all the odd man rushes that Quick has had to bail them out of.
As mentioned earlier, adjustments need to be made. The Kings during the regular season gave up the first goal of the game 50 times out of 82. In order to have made the playoffs, let alone have 98 points, the Kings had to be a good comeback team in order to be where they are now.
However, Vegas has been counting on them as being a slow starting team. Once they get that one goal lead, the Golden Knights have been sitting back and waiting for opportunities to come out on an odd man rush.
It’s a full on trap game in their own zone.
So how do the Kings fight back against this? The first thought is that they need to come out flying right when the puck drops on Sunday and be the aggressor to get the first goal.
LA allowed the least goals among the league’s 31 teams in the regular season and led the NHL in the penalty killing department. However, none of that matters if they don’t have the lead. The best opportunity to get the jump on the Knights is when the game is still 0-0.
With Doughty’s return on Sunday another thing that will be easier for the Kings to do is get pucks in on net from the point. When you have a hot goalie like Marc-Andre Fleury, the best way to get pucks past him is to shoot low off his pads.
By doing so, the rebound is essentially a pass off his pads to someone who can tuck it in behind him. One of the major frustrations of players like Dion Phaneuf among his three former teams is that he shoots high (and sometimes wide), which is either smothered by the goaltender or is deflected out of play.
The Kings have an advantage in the players with the ability to muck it in the tough areas on the ice with guys like Dustin Brown, Alex Iafallo, and Kyle Clifford. If shots get through with those guys in front of Fleury, the Knights will have their hands full.
Most importantly, the Kings can’t afford to stand still and wait for something to happen offensively. There needs to be more movement with the player carrying the puck to give him the time and space to get set up in the Knights zone.
The Kings still have every opportunity to get back into this series and win. A series is never really judged until a team loses at home and the Kings need to make sure that it’s not them.