It's been a little surprising how many explanations of why the Canucks lost game 1 are tinged with just a little disrespect towards the LA Kings.
A lot is said of what the Canucks DIDN'T do as opposed to what the Kings DID do. Well let me tell you one thing. The Kings had a far greater impact on game 1 than just that the Canucks didn't bring enough emotion and played badly. Kings dominated in pretty well all aspects of the game.
1. The Canucks couldn't control the Kings bigger bodies down low. LA's forecheck was fierce and Kopitar, Brown, Carter, King, Penner had their way with the Canucks d-men.
2. Richards was better them Kesler. These 2nd line centers are emotional leaders and Richards put his head down and just played hockey. Kesler was too busy playing outside of himself-trying to affect the game with outside forces as opposed to just playing hockey. The diving, flopping, yapping, snow-showering Quick.
3. Kings were more disciplined. Let's break down the penalties.
-Kesler's snow shower. I've read Canucks fans saying this was the worst call in the history of the NHL. I wonder how close some of these fans follow their team and how many games they actually watch. Last time LA/Van played Clifford got the exact same penalty-giving Luongo a snow shower. It was a penalty in that game and was a penalty in this game.
-Two delay of game penalties. That is the rule. That's just stupidity on the Canucks part.
-Sami Salo hooking. Williams had a step on him and Salo hooked him. This was probably the only decent penalty to take.
-Kassian and Lapierre's charges. Stoll got a penalty early in the first when he left his feet and hit from behind. Both hits were either leaving the feet or a hit from behind. Both were penalties.
-Bitz five minute penalty. No disputing this as Bitz gets to sit for the next 2 games. Except maybe the 18,000 fans chanting 'Bullpoop'. Really classy.
The referees were not at fault. There is no conspiracy. The NHL doesn't want LA to advance. These were penalties and the Canucks were just very undisciplined.
4. Kings 4th line was better than Canucks 4th line. I guess not so much better but didn't hurt the team as much. A 4th line that racks up 7 minutes in penalties in about 6 mins of playing time is not good. Nolan did take a slashing penalty in the 3rd but the Kings PK stood tall. Which takes us to 5.
5. Special teams. Kings were better. Scored 2 PP goals and PK was 5 fo 5. Kings run a very aggressive PK which it seemed like the Canucks weren't really ready for. But really-this Canucks powerplay has been clicking at about 12% for the last 3 months so i can't necessarily see it being the difference in this series.
Kings played a major role in the ineffectiveness of the Canucks to sustain a puck possession game. I really don't see that changing much in the next few games.
I see the Kings finishing this series up in 5.
I thought the series was going to come down to Kesler/Booth vs. Richards/Carter. Whom ever played better-out of these pairings-was going to have an incredible advantage in the emotional advantage in this series.