A quick guide to why the Blues lost game 2 and who you should hate on the LA Kings:
- They took out one of the Blues best players in Game 1. In game 1, the Kings #74, Dwight King, put defenseman Alex Pietrangelo into the boards in the second period knocking him out for the better part of Game 1 and all of Game 2. He received just a 2 minute minor for the offense. Pietragelo was one of the top offensive players during the regular season with 51 points (12 goals & 39 assists). Shortly into the first period of Game 2, King and BJ Crombeen, one of the Blues brawlers, went at it to settle the score. King promptly kicked Crombeen's butt.
- They took out Jamie Langenbrunner in Game 2. Second verse, same as the first. Langenbrunner is a long time vet having played in the NHL since 1994 and was a part of multiple Olympic teams for the United States. All of the mythical arguments for veteran-ness you hear in baseball, you'll hear about in hockey too. If you like those arguments in baseball, you'll probably like them in hockey. From a pure talent/on-the-ice perspective, Langenbrunner is an important piece for the Blues offense in terms of line depth.
- Dustin Penner is a thug. I don't begrudge the Kings their thug -- though they seem to have several more than the Blues - but Penner is on a special level right now. He's huge, coming in at 6'4" 245, and he was clearly in the heads of the Blues during Game 2.
- Dustin Brown has come alive in the playoffs. Brown leads the team in goals and assists during the playoffs. He's been a part of most, if not all, the Kings short handed goals this post-season. He's on another level right now and the Blues failed to shut him down in Game 2 when he had 3 assists.
- Jonathan Quick. The Kings goalie, Quick, is playing great hockey right now. I always hate the other teams goalies when they are playing well. He is also kind of an asshole taking some cheap shots at the Blues in Game 2 when the opportunity presented itself.
LA is a physical team. They don't just take the occasional opportunity to hit you, they take every occasion to hit you -- warranted or not, legal or not. They put the hurt on the Blues in the first period of Game 2 and the Blues struggled to cope with it. The Blues have several key skill players who aren't necessarily heavy hitters -- Andy MacDonald and David Perron being noteworthy examples -- and this can leave them vulnerable to teams that play physically smothering hockey. The Blues also look mentally inconsistent at times with some truly awful defensive plays -- the loss of Jaroslav Halak to Barrett Jackman and Carlos Colaiacovo's turnover for the second goal in this series stick out.
The Blues need to find a way to deal with the physicality of the Kings and keep the mental lapses to a minimum. They aren't out of this yet but they've dug themselves a fine hole. Tonight's game is the first step to getting out of that hole.