(This article was originally published by me as a guest author at the site called “Surly and Scribe.”)
More diving by gutless posers, and more Power Play goals-against as their reward for demeaning the game.
More pressure from a thoroughly oppressive forecheck, forcing those non-Americans beyond their discipline’s breaking point into abandoning their own system.
More masterful Penalty Kills, rendering bad officiating sterile, Vancower’s man-advantage emasculated, and any potential momentum eunuchised.
More rushes led by Rob Scuderi. Seriously. I saw a 3 on 2 and it was Scuderi that got the open shot from the top of the circle. I have this on DVR and I was not hallucinating.
More back-door chances by Slava Voynov. More standups and pins by Slava Voynov. More one-timers from Slava Voynov. More Voynov. Man-crush? Hell yes. To the point that I am willing to leave “back-door” and “man-crush” in the same paragraph; that’s how much I like Slava Voynov right now.
More handling of defensive zone pressure, with deflecting the attack, extended sticks for blocks, check-and-pins, interceptions, and inside position to win almost every 50/50 puck.
More leveling hits; see Richards, M and Brown, D.
More low glove saves, more high glove saves, more blocker deflections and more paddle-down early position.
More composure, just like we saw when the Kings came back from an early goal-against, and then also overcame a late-period goal-against to tie it going into the 3rd. Awesome, awesome belief, and attitude control.
More, more, more. That’s what I want. Not the exact same game, but an enhanced game, using the last victory as a template for an even better game tonight. I am sure the Canucks are gonna want to establish some things early, but they may well be in a no-win situation. If they try to open it up, they risk being wild and loose like they were last game. If they try to settle it down and play methodically, they are playing the controlled defensive game which is where the Kings play best.
Over-hyped, the Canucks were, in the press, in their own minds, and in their attitude to start the game. I continue to believe that the Kings have the better team “chi.” The Canucks opened with deserving thought, an expectation to manipulate the officials, that they are easily the better team. Well, it wasn’t all that easy, was it. Tonight they want to re-establish something that was never there in the first place. The pressure of losing in the Finals last year coupled with the knowledge that anything less than the Cup is catastrophic, gives us the mental edge in these early games.
Entitlement denied is frustrating. Entitlement falsified is demoralizing.
We can jump on them tonight and watch a germinated seed of doubt pierce the surface and bask in nourishing sunlight. We can plant in their minds the realization that their best game is only a match for our best game. They do not have the huge advantage they thought they had, and we can re-indoctrinate them until they must accept the current truth; it’s a battle, they are behind, and they have yet to see our best game.