That was a weird one, wasn't it? The Blues dominated long stretches of Game 1, earning countless chances against the Los Angeles defense. If it weren't for Jonathan Quick, the Kings might have dropped Game 1 by a hefty margin. Ironically, the same man that kept the Kings in the game for 60 minutes also was the one responsible for Alexander Steen's game-winning OT goal.
Quick played an incredible game … until OT. Let's back up a tad. The Blues had 36 shots in regulation compared to LA's 19. The Blues came in waves, dominating the flow of the game and forcing Quick to make some truly ridiculous saves. He rose to the challenge, showing why he was such a key factor in LA's playoff run one year ago.
Things looked a bit grim as the Blues failed to bury their chances and then let LA back into the game late in the third. The Kings were riding a wave of momentum in OT after they leveled the score with just 32 seconds left in regulation. All signs were pointing to a big LA victory in OT on the road. When Kevin Shattenkirk was deemed guilty of a high-stick and LA took to a lengthy four-minute power play, Blues fans braced for the worst.
Then something funny happened.
The Blues dumped the puck in. Harmless, right? Quick went behind his net to retrieve it as the rest of the Kings prepared for a rush up the ice. There was just one problem – Alexander Steen was in to pressure Quick's pass and Quick choked, coughing the puck up. Steen pounced and wrapped the puck into the empty net.
Game over. Blues lead one game to zero.
Thanks to SB Nation for pouncing on the overhead GIF.
If I wasn't such a Blues fan I might feel bad for Quick. For the bulk of this game he appeared to be the only King that came out to play. He stopped 40 of 42 shots. That stat is a bit misleading as one of the shots he set up and wasn't even in the net to stop. It was an extremely impressive game for the goaltender and the Blues should learn that they need to capitalize on their chances or LA might weasel back into the game.
What can we take away from this game? For starters, the Blues are a different squad than they were one year ago. They play a more physical, more intense game that can torment the Kings. The fourth line continually proved that they could hold the puck within LA's zone, dishing out hit after hit on any King that strayed too close to the boards. The Blues of 2011-12 failed to rise to the challenge. They played scared hockey against the Kings. That's not the case this time around. The Blues could have easily packed it in when they took to the four-minute PK. Instead, they kept pressing and it led to a gift from Quick.
The Blues shouldn't make too big of a deal out of this win. It's huge to take Game 1, but it's important to keep your guard high for Game 2. LA should come out faster and stronger than they did in Game 1. The Blues will have to take what worked from Game 1 and sharper it for Game 2. It's doubtful the Blues will receive another gift quite as nice as Quick's.
Let's Go Blues!
Thanks to the awesome crew at ThePensBlog for this one!