Saturday, February 7, 2009

Third Period Scramble

I realize that in the "New NHL" anything can happen and that no lead is safe, but I feel like the Kings have taken it to a whole different level. I watched the third period of the Kings/Caps game and I noticed something that I'm afraid has become a trend for the Kings. In a lot of games this season (and yes, I'm too lazy to go through each game and give you the hard numbers) the Kings have started the third period with the lead or taken the lead early in the third and then proceeded to cling onto that lead for dear life by predominantly only playing defense. In some cases, such as the game against Detroit, there was too much time left and not enough defense. In other cases, such as the game against Colorado, the one against the Blackhawks, and Thursday's game against the Caps, the Kings squeaked out with the W, but they were darn close to losing each game (and I'm calling going past regulation a loss.)

I understand not wanting to be too risky and cute on offense, but I don't understand why in the third period they suddenly look shell shocked and are incapable of clearing the zone or at least getting the puck deep for line changes. Quick was HUGE in the third period and although he allowed two goals in the final frame, he was instrumental in the Kings victory. It's one thing if the Kings play the entire game looking completely outmatched, but it's another to play the majority of the game at a composed level and then scramble in the third period as they desperately try not to blow a lead by heavily relying on goaltending to bail out the team. I don't think it's a good thing that when the Kings start the third period, I pray that they won't blow it. Kinda like when Barbs was in net and I held my breath every time the opposition would shoot. Yeah, not a good sign.

I suppose I should be glad that the Kings managed to win those games and that their play helped make the game very exciting, but I can only wonder how many games they could have won if they hadn't sat back on their heels and let the other team take it to them. If they make the playoffs, there's no way they'll make it out of the first round playing this way.

No comments: