BANG BANG BANG BANG…
The puck drop on Game 1 of Round 1 has been a long time coming and it’s never mattered who it was to be against. Canucks fans just wanted it to begin. While having a team in first place has made everyone happier; usually anyways, it’s also forced us to wait with bated breath for the festivities to start.
If you haven’t read my 5 Keys to Winning Round 1 for Vancouver yet, click here and read that.
If you have already, then go forth and conquer this preview of Game 83 or just Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs for your Vancouver Canucks.
11/10/2011 @LA ~ 3-2 Canucks
12/31/2011 @LA ~ 4-1 Kings
01/17/2012 @VAN ~ 3-2 Kings
03/26/2012 @VAN ~ 1-0 Canucks
Who’s the Boss?
Drew Doughty spoke to the media Tuesday as the Kings landed in VanCity rarin’ to go. The Olympic Gold Medallist defenseman was quick to insist that his squad would be the one on top. (Quote below – King’s Vision)
“We have to make sure that they know they’re not going to have an easy job beating us…we’re going to be the best team out there; the fastest team out there.”
While it’s entirely possible that Los Angeles has this mindset and could pull it off, the chances are slim to none, especially within an extremely raucous Rogers Arena. It was only a year ago the Canucks came out swinging in game 1 vs. Chicago; scoring early and hitting often. While the Vancouver crowd may not be the liveliest during the regular season, it’s a different animal come playoff time.
So when I say that Ryan Kesler et al must show them who’s boss, I mean come out of the gates like they’ve got bottle rockets shoved where the sun don’t shine. Win every puck battle, knock the Kings flat on their royal behinds and prove to Los Angeles that their switch is flipped.
With apples comes pie and with pie comes the sweet taste of victory. So if Vancouver can in fact come out wielding the hand of Midas, goals will come.
While many will make stinginess of the Kings regular season goals against number which ranked 2nd lowest in the West, it should be noted that Jonathan Quick, LA’s #1 Goaltender allowed 8 goals in the final two starts of the season in important games versus San Jose which could have prevented LA from playing Vancouver.
Now Quick did have 2 shutouts in his previous three starts but I’m just saying if the Canucks can get some offense early, a relatively speaking inexperienced post-season performer in Jonathan Quick could be rattled and be ripe for the picking.
The thing is that Los Angeles has something to prove here, arguably more than Vancouver. A lot of players on the Kings played in 2009 against the Roberto Luongo led Canucks and may feel they have a score to settle.
Add to that the variety of penalties that have been called between these two teams in four games this season including but not limited to:
Two fights, one goalie interference, one unsportsmanlike minor, three cross-checking minors, two ten minute misconducts and a swath of roughing minors, these regal baboons may just have a mean streak in them.
Don’t be surprised to see a guy like Dale Weise or Byron Bitz drop the gloves with someone early on as Los Angeles will likely do the provoking in order to set the tone and in change, do their own part of showing Vancouver who exactly is boss.
You never know how other series can affect all the rest. The Penguins and Flyers opener goes earlier in the afternoon and though fighting is slightly more frowned upon in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a fight filled affair in Pittsburgh could set the tone for others to be chippy as well.
So beware the counter-attack because the Kings are lurking.
BEST BET TO WIN: Vancouver Canucks
Rogers Arena is going to be too much for a relatively young Los Angeles team who, let us not forget, are facing a reigning Conference Champion and two time President’s Trophy winner Vancouver Canucks.
Puck drop is at 7:45 on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada and TEAM1040 Radio.
Follow me on twitter @vancan19 for some great in-game tweets!