I really like Jarret Stoll's look right here. He looks like a cross between Channing Tatum and Brian Fantana during the first trash talking scene in Anchorman. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
-The last nine games have been Jonathan Quick's worst stretch of the season (870 SV%). The previous nine was his best (.937 SV%). That stretch came right after his baby was born. He's not tired, he's not overworked, he's a goaltender going through a few technical issues. He'll be fine, no matter how hard Quisp tries to jinx him.* Forget Bernier exists, it's not going to happen. Believe in Quick.
*Writing a post wondering how badly Quick has to suck before we can call up Bernier, the day before a playoff game? Good God man, what's wrong with you!
Frolov- 6 games, 2 goals, 1 assist, +5
Stoll- 6 games, 3 goals, 1 assist, even
Brown- 6 games, 6 goals! 4 assists! +10!
So more specifically, the Kings' best player in April has been Dustin Brown. Brown has been benefiting from the shift in strategy recently made by Terry Murray: Brown has the highest quality of competition on the team but recently Murray has been giving him softer minutes and he's responded very well. If the Kings are going to win against the Canucks, it's going to be because the Fro-Stoll-Brown line are going to disrupt Vancouver's strategy. They need to make Vancouver account for them. Can they do it? Hope so! Think so.
-Related to the point above: what's the over/under on stupid penalties Dustin Brown draws Shane O'Brien into taking? 3? 4? We'll set the line at 3 because I assume O'Brien would get benched before he can take 4. Place your bets!
-Ryan Smyth has been playing like shit recently, right? I think so, but then again I'm not exactly unbiased when it comes to that fuck so I wasn't sure. It seems like he's been cutting at the wrong times, going against the grain of the cycle, and giving up the puck at inopportune times. Smyth won't be the decider of the series but he's someone that can draw attention to himself and create space for Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar. This is why we got you, you son of a bitch. Do your job.
-If the Kings lose this series it won't be because of inexperience. That's dumb. Every single King has played in tons of important games. Every single one of them has tried their very hardest and left everything they have out on the ice at some point in their lives. Yeah, a World Junior game isn't as important as a Stanley Cup playoff game, but it was as important to them at the time. It's not like they were skating and thinking, "Welp, better leave just a little left in the tank in case I make the NHL." The truth is that every game is incredibly important to NHL players; that's why they're NHL players. Yeah, veterans generally play better than rookies in the NHL playoffs, but they also play better in the NHL regular season because they're older and more physically mature. Wayne Simmonds might fuck up tonight but it's not any more likely than Sean O'Donnell fucking up. Rob Blake played terrible last night for the Sharks despite all his playoff experience because well, you're going to have a bad game every once in a while. If the Kings lose it's because they're not good enough or they were unlucky, not because they didn't have some sort of mystical quality that you only gain after playing in a playoff series.
-Predictions are kind of stupid heading into a playoff series. The series will at most be 7 games and there is no way people can accurately predict what will happen in 7 games. It's just too small a sample size to be worth anything. Daniel Sedin could score 7 goals or Brad Richardson could and you can't say you're too surprised. I think the Canucks are the better team and they'll probably win, but I think there is a chance that the Kings could get a few bounces or a few great games from Quick and they could win. All I know is that I can't wait to see what happens. And that I'll be hungover tomorrow.