What an exciting start to Game Four of the Blues-Kings series Monday night in Los Angeles. A St. Louis team that had been excruciatingly offensively challenged came out of the gate and instantly scored two goals.
It seemed that the Blues were fired up, and that perhaps their scoring issues were a thing of the past! Kelly Chase mentioned before the game that Adam Cracknell told him the team was inspired, and the early pucks in the back of the net seemed to solidify that.
But then, the entire identity of the Blues team vanished. The early lead instantly disappeared, and the Kings took over the game.
You expected a desperate, furious, chaotic Kings attack, and that’s exactly what you got. The difference was, the Blues had weathered that storm until this point. Monday, there was no pushback. There was no answer. There was only 50 minutes of Los Angeles Kings dominated hockey.
Much of the reason for the Kings stretch of dominance had to do with Blues defense. On the postgame show with me, Chris Kerber summed it up. “I don’t think there was any one of the six that had a good game.”
There were bad decisions and outlet passes that led to odd-man rushes or advantages for LA. There were also pucks in front of the net that were not cleared. All in all, not the Blues defense we are used to seeing lately.
Darryl Sutter was also tremendous in coaching the Kings. For the second game in a row, Sutter used 11 forwards and seven defensemen, and stayed a step ahead of Ken Hitchcock and the Blues all game.
The good news is, it’s a three game series, and two of the games are at Scottrade Center. The home ice advantage, and all that comes with it, is back in the hands of Ken Hitchcock and the Blues.
The bad news? The Kings look more and more like the team that hoisted the Stanley Cup last year.
One thing is for certain – it should be a fun ride.