In the last week, the Los Angeles Kings have a) clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and b) eliminated the Anaheim Ducks from playoff contention. I have been a Kings fan for more than a dozen years. In the first several years, I didn’t know crap about hockey and could barely get names straight (Tsyplakov was pronounced by me as Tie – Splack – Off [should be “Sip-la-kov”] much to the amusement of my husband and a good friend of ours). As an aside, we have become the team with the most boring of last names: Brown, Greene, Jones, Smyth, Johnson, Richardson, etc.
It’s been years since the Kings have landed anywhere but the basement at the end of the season. (The bonus there was great draft picks, and with Dean Lombardi in our corner, they’ve been but to AMAZING use – hello Drew Doughty.) And after so many years of “rebuilding”, we’ve finally got a great formula of young players with a few veterans sprinkled in for good measure. So the Kings clinched a playoff spot on Sunday after an eventful two games earlier in the week.
Thursday, the Vancouver Canucks came to town, and brought along super-star goalie Roberto Luongo. Someone apparently forgot to tell him & their defense that we meant business. I think they may have started to figure it out after an eight-goal scoring frenzy! I got to witness my second hat-trick (by the Kings, not ON the Kings) when Dustin Brown scored three of the eight. WHOOOOWHEEEE That was such a fun game to watch. The Kings really did a good job and capitalized on the Canucks’ mis-steps.
Saturday, however, was a different story. The Kings faced the Anaheim Ducks and just didn’t “bring it.” It was a let-down when Koivu scored both the tying goal in the last minutes of play, as well as the game winning goal in the shootout. Seems like the Ducks end up with a bunch of ex-Kings. I can’t help but giggle when I see ex-King, Princeton Alum, George Parros and his mustache. In fact, he kinda looks like Gallagher, only with more hair. After the loss, it’s off to Anaheim on Tuesday for the last game in the “Freeway Face-off.”
On Sunday, thanks to Calgary’s loss against Chicago Blackhawks, the Kings officially clinched a spot in the playoffs. This guarantees we could do no worse than 8th, even if we lost all of the rest of our games. What an Easter gift! Thank you Blackhawks for winning that game!
Tuesday rolls around and the Kings are taking a beating through the first 40 minutes. Down by three goals, we finally find our mojo and get rockin’! All tied up, through OT, and approaching a shootout. Sigh. Quick was pulled & Ersberg was in the net. He played solid, but doesn’t have the same shootout experience as Quick. Great job though Beavis! We got the “W” and 2 points… but more importantly, we jumped into 6th place (ahead of Detroit) and mathematically eliminated the Ducks from the Playoffs. What a SWEET victory.
Today I received word that my playoff tickets were charged to my card and I’ll be getting them this week. OMG – Playoff tickets in-hand. I was such a new hockey fan when I went to a playoff game before, I didn’t have any idea what it actually meant. It’s bittersweet though, because no matter how far we make it in the playoffs, the season is nearly over. I will however, savor every moment!
P.S. – Loved watching Sippy (or “Splacky” as I liked to call him) play and missed him dearly when he was shipped off to Buffalo.