Los Angeles Kings v St Louis Blues - Game One

Oh man, playoffs are here at long last. And to think, at one point we were worried that there wouldn’t be an NHL season.

Tonight Jake Goldsbie and myself will be offering commentary, video, pictures, and generally hanging out with you during one of the best nights of the NHL season. Let’s get to ‘er.

***

7:50 p.m.: And we’re under way.

Bourne: HOLY HELL, according to theScore… “Minnesota Wild Goalie Niklas Backstrom was injured during warm-ups and left the ice under duress. Backup Goalie Josh Harding is now taking shots.”

Goldsbie: Oh that’s not going to go well for them at all. Can the Blackhawks win in 3? Is that legal? Something tells me no. That being said, if Harding is awesome and can somehow lead the Wild to a win tonight, wouldn’t that be one of the best stories ever? I’m now kinda rooting for this. Aw crap, fine. Let’s go Wild. 

Bourne: Yes, yes I am.

Goldsbie: Costonika is ripping me off.

Bourne: I could really do without anything too complicated early, like say, tips, rebounds…shots……

Bourne: Welp.

Goldsbie: Harding’s appeared in 5 games this year. This is nuts. 

Goldsbie: I don’t know who Charles Glenn is but he’s dressed like a boss and just sang the living crap out of the anthem. That was awesome. 

Bourne: Oh come on. That was not a great anthem. Kinda sounded like…I dunno, Cee-Lo’s older brother.

Goldsbie: This coming from a guy who hates Radiohead.

Bourne: Kinda feel like the Backstrom injury could be a good thing for the Wild. Like a kick-in-the-pants “holy, if we’re not amazing, this could get ugly” wake up call. And if the Hawks don’t score early, and start getting frustrated…

Goldsbie: CLUTTERBUCK! 1-0 Minny. This game is going….Buck Wild. YEEEEEEEAHHHHHHH.

Bourne: I’m like, Nostrabloggus. Here come the Wild.

Bourne: I like that my feed is already worried about goaltending. And not a sarcastic “like.” It really could be problematic.

Goldsbie: Jesus Christ. We’re like the Dane Cook of puns. If this is how it’s going to be all playoffs we’re going to finish with approximately zero readers. 

Bourne: Two big hits, da-yum.

Goldsbie: This made me laugh way harder than it should have.

Bourne: Josh Harding kind of has a cool, retro-looking goalie mask. Upon further review, appears to be a Minnesota scene featuring Target Field. Go Twins.

harding mask

Goldsbie: Every time Alex Steen scores in the playoffs, a Leafs fan contemplates committing seppuku. 1-0 Blues. 


 Bourne: Steen goal was one of those pure-timing goals. Good shot and save, but Quick has no chance to corral that. Steen happens to be cruising through the slot as the rebound kicks out (not an accident), and the Blues are up early. FWIW, I picked the Blues to win tonight.

 Bourne:

It is pretty odd, but shows me they’ve got some sets to try to generate backdoor plays and looks from the slot. It’s not mandatory to run a Hammer It From The Point set-up.

Goldsbie: Our @mentions are very different. 

Goldsbie: The Blues are absolutely dominating the Kings right now. I don’t know if I’ve seen the puck in the Blues’ end in the last 3 or 4 minutes. The Blues even got a line change off and managed to keep the puck across the Kings’ blue line. So much Red Line Stress for Kings fans right now. Craziness. 

Bourne: The neat part about this game is that the 1st intermission will be super-short, seeing as how they’ll only have to Zam the Kings end. 13-3 for the Blues.

Goldsbie: That’s shots, not the score, for those who aren’t inside Justin’s brain. Way to keep the people informed. 

Bourne: Kings/Blues could get awesome. Could get mean and hateful and intense and all the things that make for a great playoff series. Wild lead 1-0 over the Blackhawks after one as well, obvi.

Goldsbie: Urgh, obvi? 

Bourne: Obvi.

Goldsbie: I hate you. To distract from the horribleness that was that exchange, here’s something awesome. Love you, Twitter.

 Bourne: There is a lot of ornery bastards in this series. Brown, Richards, Jackman, Backes, Clifford, Reaves and so many more.

Goldsbie:

Sweet zombie Jesus. He’s actually going to play 32 minutes a game, isn’t he? I just want Ryan Suter to take a very long vacation when this season is over. Just go get some sleep, man. 

Bourne: Blues lead 1-0 at the intermission. BTW, some clown-shoe just chirped me on Twitter about predicting STL/LA to be a defensive series, given all the chances in period one. I could not be more annoyed right now. I mean, this is great that there’s been chances. And I’m okay with being wrong. But one period? And chirping someone’s playoff predictions? Boy, I must not watch the games. I need to exhale.

Goldsbie: Are you kidding? 1-0 is a goddamn offensive explosion! 

Also, in non-hockey news, Edwin Encarnacion just hit a home run so far that I’m not sure if it’s landed yet. I think it traveled back in time and hurt Nicklas Backstrom or something. Jesus.

Goldsbie: Anyway, some fancy stats leaders for y’all at intermission. Niklas Hjalmarsson is currently leading the Hawks and rocking a +8 corsi (+7 fenwick) while Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Clutterbuck lead the wild with +2 (+3 fenwicks). Koivu, Parise, Suter, and Coyle are a -6 corsi after 1. 

Across the…pond? Country? Where are things? Across the whatever, Jaden Schwartz leads the Blues with a +6 corsi and Ellerby, Williams, and Brown all have a +2 for the Kings.

Bourne: Blackhawks score! Hossa. Oh man, that’s not ideal from a PK neutral zone defense perspective. The plan isn’t to end up with a guy in alone on your tender. Though, I doubt the tender’s plan, in general, is go for the two-pad stack. We’ll give Harding a pass. It’s been awhile.

Goldsbie: Screw all y’all, this is awesome.

Bourne: You’re free to pick what you’re passionate about, I guess:

Bourne: The Kings are playing like the Kings on the road. Man, are the Blues ever all over them. Kings look like they’ve got the incline on the ice treadmill set to 3.5 or so.

Bourne: Whoa.

H’okaaay, moving on.

Goldsbie: Nice glove, Josh Harding! That wasn’t going anywhere near the net but still, nice grab. I’m all in on the Wild as long as he’s playing goal. As soon as Backstrom’s back, the Wild are dead to me once again. The spirit of ‘Lumbus lives on. 

Goldsbie: T.J. Oshie is only 5’11”?? He plays at least four inches bigger than he is. I love him a lot. 

Bourne: Hope for Minny! An eight-seed…from your state…has…two decades ago…ah forget it this is entirely irrelevant.

chi min 2

 

Goldsbie: Wild and Hawks tied at 1 through 2 periods. Are we going to see some playoff OT on day 1? Yes? Please? Did I just jinx this completely? Probably.

Bourne: Man, watching the CBC clip on Kessel makes me so bad for him. If I were a shy dude like him dealing with life here in TO, I’d be like “you know what’d be better than this? Playing in, say, Nashville. Or somewhere not here. I’M OUT.”

Goldsbie: You shut your goddamn mouth right now, Bourne. Kessel is going nowhere. Because he’s the hero Toronto deserves. So our media will irritate him, because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian. A watchful protector. Phil Kessel.

Bourne: Oh my, Josh Harding just made a huge save on Patrick Kane. 88 got the puck around the poke-check, but Harding closed the legs up tightly.

Goldsbie: Oh man, Robyn Regehr just took a skate to the face. I think he’s okay other than bleeding a whole lot. That was really, really close to being really, really scary. Regehr’s gone to the dressing room. I was hoping to see some Robert Svehla-style stitches on the bench. Hope Regehr is okay, though. Him coming back to the game would be yet another addition to the “hockey players are incredibly tough and borderline insane come playoff time” storybook. 

Bourne: Gurf. This happened.

regehr blood 3

Bourne: That was spawned by some back-heel kick post-this-moment:

backes 2

Bourne: Spawned by a series of nasty Corey Crawford saves:

Goldsbie: The Blues have absolutely dominated the Kings thus far yet I have absolutely no faith in them to actually close this out and win the game. I have no idea why. 

Bourne: Jonathan Quick has launched his Conn Smythe campaign tonight, take notice. Just the type of game to get him fired up and feeling good. Owned by the Blues, keeping his team in it, everything a team needs from a goalie in this type of game. 30 saves so far (great one on Backes just now), still eight left in the third.

Bourne: Yassir.

Bourne: I tweeted this, so here:

Bourne: I can respect the difference. But it ain’t for me.

Bourne: Doubt it:

Bourne: Gotta respect Josh Harding’s performance tonight a MasterTON /resigns forever.

Goldsbie: One game going to OT, another 1-0 game with 2 minutes left. I love playoff hockey so much I want to take it behind a middle school and get it pregnant. 

Bourne: Minnesota: Clutterbuck, Chicago: Hossa. Yep, I feel a two-goal game coming.

Goldsbie: Saad and Koivu for me. 

Bourne: JUSTIN WILLIAMMMMMMSSSSS!!!! WE’VE GOT TO GAMES GOING TO OVERTIME!!!

Goldsbie: Oh my God. Playoff hockey is the @%$&# best. 

Bourne: Quick, Quick, Quick.

Bourne: Anze Kopitar, Jaden Schwartz.

Goldsbie: I’ll go with Dustin Brown and Alex Pietrangelo. I’d take Josh Harding in both games if I could. 

Goldsbie: Oh, hey. Another playoff hockey game just started. Have I mentioned that this is the best?

Bourne: Daggers:

Goldsbie: Nick Bonino is back, y’all. Quack! 1-0 Ducks. 

Goldsbie: Apologies for the lack of updates. We’re busy watching the AMAZING hockey that is currently happening. 

Bourne: Red Wings tie it up! Gonna be a long series if the Ducks can’t shut down ….(checks game summary)…Dan Cleary?

Goldsbie: Dan Cleary is still alive? Are you sure?

Goldsbie: WHAT IN THE HELL JUST HAPPENED? 

Bourne: Guys. GUYS. The Kings just had a four minute powerplay. The puck went behind the Kings net. Quick got too cute, turned it over, and Steen tucked it in the empty-net. As replays were happening, Bryan Bickell tucked an OT winner 5-hole on Harding. EVERYTHING: It’s happening.

Goldsbie: That was…that was….I don’t even know. That was playoff hockey. 

Bourne: Kevin Weekes is claiming the Jonathan Quick error was a miscommunication. Nope. Guy coming, on the powerplay, get the puck out of harms way as Step 1. Don’t try to go back past him. Keep it simple. You’re the goalie.

A .GIF!

And hey why not, the full play if you’re interested:

Goldsbie: Alex Steen: 2 goals, +11 corsi/fenwick. Yeah, he was okay. 

Bourne: It made him “celly.”

Bourne: I find this 100% unsurprising:

Goldsbie: All respect, props, and admiration to Josh Harding forever. Seriously. 

Tonight was absolutely insane and really fun. I love this sport so much it’s hard to describe and tonight was a really good reminder of why. And this was day one. The best part about all this is it’s just beginning. See you tomorrow. 

Bourne: And with this…

 

…We bid you adieu. We’ll see you tomorrow, when we’ll follow up on Ducks/Red Wings.

Goldsbie: Screw it, I don’t even care, I get to join in all the fun tomorrow. Go Leafs Go.