San Jose Sharks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Seven

Last season during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I put out a morning “noteworthy” column in the style of Trey Kerby’s “Things Of Note” posts on The Basketball Jones. This year I’ll be doing something similar (I think with some upgrades on my own previous attempts) using the NHL’s morning press release (“Stanley Cup of Joe,” they’re calling it), my own opinions, and some videos, .GIFs and appropriate pictures. Quoted passages are from the NHL press release.

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It’s not so much the Kings winning that was predictable, as it was the manner in which they won. At home, after scoring first, by a score of 2-1 in a game Jonathan Quick played great. You don’t say.

First time for everything

This series was the first in NHL history that saw the home team score first and win all seven games. Stick-tap to John Buccigross for that tidbit. And stick-tap to the NHL for informing me that only nine times in NHL history has the home team won all seven games in a series.

That first goal

Seems to be fairly important.

Including Tuesday, teams that score first are 110-38 (.743) all-time in Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (4‑0 this year). Home teams are 89-59 (.601) all-time in Game 7s, including a 2-2 record this year. (Elias)

Justin Williams AKA Clutchy O’BigGame

Maybe it’s a coincidence that a pretty good player just happens to excel in Game 7s. Or maybe it’s that he’s someone who performs well under pressure and legitimately deserves the label clutch. You decide!

Los Angeles forward Justin Williams has played in four Game 7s in his NHL career (4-0) and has scored at least one goal in each of them (also for Philadelphia vs. Toronto in 2003, and for Carolina vs. Buffalo and Edmonton in 2006). He is the first player in League history to score goals in each of his first four Game 7s; the only other player to do that at any point in his career was Jeff Friesen from 2000 to 2006. Overall, Williams has 5-4—9, including two game-winning goals, in his four Game 7 appearances. (Elias)

Goal numero uno

You can call it lucky, call it garbage, but in that situation, the best you can do is try to bank it off the goalie, try to dig it up, just dig it somewhere more dangerous. So, credit to Williams for that.

I’m no goalie…

But I do think Niemi is slow getting across on the second one, given that Williams doesn’t get much on the shot. Quick stops it, is all I’m sayin’.

Speaking of Quick…

Dude made some ridiiiiiculous saves last night. My two faves below.

How “quick” does he get across the crease on this after going down? Insane speed on post-to-post pushes.

And

Number two, the one that saw some people on Twitter giving Pavelski crap for not “getting it up,” which is a beautiful, simple concept until the puck is behind your back foot, you know you have a yawning cage, and a half-second to make a play. And to Quick’s credit, he does everything he can, and makes the great save.

The numbers back up our eyes

Reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick has stopped 362 of the 382 shots he’s faced this postseason and leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.50), save percentage (.948) and shutouts (3). Those numbers are even better at home, where Quick is a perfect 7-0 with a 1.14 goals-against average, .958 save percentage and three shutouts.

Squeakin’ by

11 of the Kings 13 playoff games have been one goal decisions, versus 39 of 70 league-wide.

Home sweet home

This is a trend you shouldn’t be surprised by at this point, but it continued…

The Kings have won a franchise-record seven consecutive home games this postseason (eight including last year) and 14 straight games at STAPLES Center dating to the regular season.

The most recited stat of the day…

The five remaining playoff teams are the last five Cup winners.

Loose Pucks

* The Kings improved to 4-4 all-time in Game 7s, including a 2-1 record at home. The Sharks fell to 5-3 all-time in Game 7s, including a 3-3 mark as visitors

* The Kings have played in a League-high 33 playoff games over the past two years; they played a total of 28 postseason games from 1994 to 2009

* San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle scored the team’s lone goal, his third of the playoffs

* Los Angeles defenseman Slava Voynov collected two assists; he had just one helper in his first 12 games this postseason

* Celebrities Tom Cruise, David Beckham and Justin Bieber attended Game 7 between Los Angeles and San Jose

* Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood was outfitted for Game 7 between Chicago and Detroit

* The NHL announced the schedule scenarios, including the dates, starting times and broadcast information, for the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals.

Tonight’s Action

Detroit @ ChicagoGame 7, series tied 3-3, 8:00 p.m. EST, NBCSN, CBC, RDS

Comments (11)

  1. Quick’s post to post movement is incredible. I’ve never seen a goalie with that kind of lateral movement.

    • One thing he’s amazing at is not just his speed across, but that he STOPS when he gets in position. You see so many other goalies just slide too far. It’s like he has little spikes in his pads to stop right where he wants to be. That’s crazy.

  2. Looks to me like Niemi’s initial read is that the pass is for Voynov, leaving his legs extended – and far less able to push strongly – as he gets there and realizes it’s going to Williams. Still one that Quick (and Bobrovsky) might get, but more because their edge control from the near-splits is incredible than purely from lateral quickness.

  3. Niemi dwfinitely struggled to get over. Almost as though he didn’t read it right, because he kind of double pushed when he really needs to be pushing hard to that spot (which is something he’s certainly capable of).

    As for the Quick save on Pavelski, hey, you put yourself in a spot where you have a chance to make a save and sometimes you make it. Obviously if the puck is lifted it goes in, but as a goalie you can never give up on a play and all you can try to do is give yourself a chance to save it. Half the time (maybe more) that goes in, so good job by JQ for putting himself in position to get a little lucky.

  4. You guys, Justin included, sure are eager to dump on a goalie for giving up a goal on what is effectively a 3 on 2. I would blame the Sharks defensive coverage here. Niemi had to respect the other two Kings.

    • Wasn’t dumping on Niemi. Just saying it looked like he read the play as going to the middle, then realized too late he needed to get to the far post, which would explain the kinda double push he did there.

  5. I saw the Kings make enough bad line changes from 2004-2009 to recognize when other teams do one. Can;t believe that the Blues and Sharks both had critical times where they changed up behind the puck as it was going into their offensive zone on the long change. How the little things can be the biggest mistakes.

  6. KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!

  7. And there goes the Canucks’ usual consolation of having been eliminated by the eventual Cup champion!

    Fire AV!

  8. IMO, Niemi did make a not-so-good read, but you have to credit Kopitar for displaying shot before he passed. He had the puck ready for a wrist shot, and Niemi came out to challenge. You can see Kopitar with a bit of a leg fake and he shovels the pass to Williams. It’s subtle, but I think that’s a big reason why Niemi reads that wrong. It looks like he starts to even bite a bit on a shot from Kopi.

    • taking another look, it looks like he may not have even bitten, it looks like he squares to Voynov first, which IS a bad read.

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