The Los Angeles Kings Wait Out the New Jersey DevilsPosted by whitecovermagazine
And so, with the first peg laid in the final lap of this year’s railroad toward the 2012 Stanley Cup, the New Jersey Devils have learned what every other victim of the Los Angeles Kings has learned:
You can outscore them, you can outplay them, and you can think you have them beat. But, until you actually bury them, these guys are better than anyone else at getting themselves off the mat.
Seriously, this is the final 30 minutes of every Die Hard film, where Alan Rickman, Jeremy Irons, and Timothy Olyphant are killed, like, five times and they just keep re-appearing to ruin Bruce Willis’s day.
You know how it goes… Bruce has just thrown them off the ledge, and he looks up to the air and lets out on big sigh, as if to say, “Victory” to himself… and then, just like you were expecting, the villain’s right hand strikes out from the ledge and grabs his leg, pulling at his pants, and yanking him over and out to the place where gravity rules all.
(*Somehow, though, Bruce makes it. The same can’t yet be said for New Jersey.)
(Los Angeles leads series 1-0)
It’s a tried, tested, and true formula, and New Jersey Devils now know what it feels like. They outplayed L.A. for most of this hockey game, even if their only goal was as unplanned as your parents’ conceiving of you.
They pounded Jonathan Quick with outside shots, as if thinking they were invincible to the goalie’s superhuman strength. Yeah, because the Canucks beat him that way, and the Blues beat him that way, and the Coyotes beat him that way. (*Sarcasm.)
The Vancouver Canucks know full well what Quick and the Kings are capable of doing. They outplayed Los Angeles for most of their first-round series, especially in the decisive Game 5 when Vancouver dominated the paint and boxed out like they were playing the Lakers in full equipment.
But, of course, the Kings took their poison, swallowed it, told Vancouver it didn’t taste that bad, and scored timely goals to whup the Canucks on their way to Round 2.
(*L.A.’s series against St. Louis and Phoenix followed the same script.)
Now, the Kings continue to roll through the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs with relative ease, even if the games have all seemed to end with one-goal differences and overtime celebrations. Even though the Devils surrounded L.A.’s net like it was the Alamo, it was a calm pass from Justin Williams to an even calmer Anze Kopitar that sealed it, and Kopitar’s poise to pull the back forehand-to-backhand-to-forehand on a breakaway in front of the world against the greatest goalie of all-time was the crowning achievement of Game 1, and the epitome of how this year’s tournament has gone for the Kings.
Sure, it’s not the most exciting final, this irrelevant match-up between Hollywoodland and the Hudson River. Either way, we know that nobody’s heart is breaking, no matter who loses. The real fan bases have already been wiped out. You know that when L.A. is the biggest hockey town alive in June, you’re in trouble.
Sure, they’ll say they care, but they’ll say that about the Clippers, too.
Now, New Jersey has to go back to the drawing board, knowing that whatever they had to give in Round 1 just wasn’t good enough, and knowing that they’ve blown the only home-ice advantage they’ve had since 2010.
It must feel good to be a King right now. You’re sitting behind the Walls of Troy, watching the Athenians ram their carts into your immovable walls.
Of course, there’s always a Horse. There’s always a Horse.