Friday, November 30, 2007

What a Steal

I apologize that this is a few days late.

I'm not quite sure I would say the Kings stole Wednesday night's game, but I bet Sharks fans think so. I missed the first period and as I sat down to watch the start of the second I almost choked on my dinner when I heard Bob Miller say that Cammy was out of the line-up. With Fro and Cammy out I couldn't believe we were only down by one after the first. Bob didn't make me feel much better when he mentioned the Kings were severely outshot in the first half of the period but it was reassuring when he complimented LaBarbera on his stellar play, allowing the Kings to still be competitive in the game.

The remaining two periods were nail-biting and very exciting. After going to the Kings/Sharks game in early November and watching both teams putter about as if they couldn't understand why they had to play a thing called hockey, it was refreshing to see some great action from these teams. Both teams had moments of intense offensive pressure and were physical enough to keep the game at a high level of energy.

In the second period the Kings tied the score while short-handed. There was a faceoff in the Kings end and somehow (the camera was late showing the faceoff) the puck was played up the ice and Brown had a breakaway. I was hopeful that Brown would bury it because he's been on a hot streak lately. Just as he was about to make his final moves the SJ player who was chasing him down got his stick out to pull down Brown. The ref's arm went up and Nabokov, two or three Sharks players, and I all lost sight of the puck. My FP (now what do I call him???) kept shouting "IT'S RIGHT THERE!!!!!!" and I had no idea what he was talking about until Kopitar came crashing into the screen and tapped the puck home. I didn't know what the hell happened so we replayed the whole sequence of events and I was finally able to see that when Brown was taken down, the puck wasn't cleared or held by Nabokov, but was instead just sitting right in front of Nabokov's skates. Nabokov was standing still, looking around as if trying to find the puck and/or waiting for the whistle to blow. Kopitar came into view, clearly determined to get to the puck before SJ and surprised Nabokov by scoring a goal. This goal was huge!!

The Kings second goal also came in the second period when the Kings were applying a lot of pressure. Patty O'Sullivan, who played one of his best game's of the season, contributed to keeping the puck in SJ's end and was able to convert on a great cross-ice pass from Stuart.

The third period was much like the second period but I think SJ had the better chances. I just knew we weren't going to be able to hold a 2-1 lead, but I had just a glimmer of hope because of how well LaBarbera was playing. I couldn't believe he was making some of the stops that he made. I didn't want to say anything out loud because it almost felt like a potential shutout situation even though we already let in one goal. Well...sure enough, after another amazing save by Barbs, the FP says, "Wow, LaBarbera has been playing really well this game" and immediately my inner monologue said, "Noooooooooo!!!!!!" and immediately thereafter the Sharks score and I said to FP "Why did you say that?!! You're not supposed to say stuff like that out loud!!!" He was kind of taken aback but laughed at me because I think he understood. I mean, even he knows not to say the "S" word and I think he realized this was a similar situation.

Anyway, SJ came really close to taking the lead at the end of the third. I kept saying to myself, "Just get to overtime" because I knew we just needed a stoppage of play to rest, collect, and regroup. The Kings definitely looked much better in OT but neither team could score so we headed to shootout. I think Barbs is pretty good in the shootout which is why I was so disappointed when he lost to Anaheim earlier this month in SO. Anyway, I felt pretty good about our chances.

First SJ shooter: JR. "Are you kidding me?!" I thought. No Big Joe? Marleau? Cheechoo? No? Ok. Well, sure enough JR scored.
First Kings shooter: Patty O'Sullivan. With Cammy and Fro out I figured he was a possibility to be one of the first three shooters. Plus, he was having an awesome game so I figured it was only fitting that he would score in the SO, which he did.
Second SJ shooter: Michalek. I was worried about this guy because he's good...but Barbs made a save!
Second Kings shooter: Kopi. It's a goal, do I even need to watch? Yes, I did, and he scored. Love that kid!
Third SJ shooter: Joe Pavelski. Not sure what to think. Goal...crap!
Third Kings shooter: Brownie. Oh man....he's had a great game, too. Thankfully he was able to score and end the shootout!!!

I was so ecstatic that we won! I can't believe we won three times in San Jose. Usually we stink up there but all three wins were hard fought battles during which we never gave up and had stellar goaltending. Like I said in my last post, I also wanted a win because I've been having a pretty good week (I got engaged! Woohoo!...hence why I can't use "BF" to say "boyfriend", instead he will now be referred to as "FP", Fiancee P, his first initial), and the Kings needed to prove to themselves that they can play well even with two top players out of the lineup.

Saturday's game is against Colorado. I'm interested to see Stastny play. I've tried so hard to convince myself that he's really not as good as people say he is, but he continues to put up numbers and you just can't ignore that. December will probably make or break the Kings season. They play 16 games in December and have 4 back-to-back situations. This should be interesting. Don't count my Kings out because we still have plenty of time to get back in the upper half of the Western Conference.

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