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Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings makes a glove save against the New Jersey Devils during Game 2.
There's always this perception that in a playoff series teams will vary wildly in approach from game to game to recapture momentum and, hopefully, turn things around or lock them down.
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That rarely happens, though.
The insertion of a rarely used player or changing lines may sound good, but when teams have come this far there's a tried and trusted system and lineup that got them there. Varying wildly from that would induce panic that is not exactly helpful to a team's chances.
Still, there's always some tweaking, akin to adding distortion to a guitar line or choosing the paprika instead of the creole seasoning. Or something.
Still the main dish, just a different spice for a kick.
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What will the Devils do? Not much, unless they can find a way get Ilya Kovalchuk a miracle cure. You've probably heard Eddie Olcyzk on NBC's coverage drone on and on about the need to shoot high on Jonathan Quick, as if that was something so easily done. As a Kings' fan, you probably heard familiar refrains from the Canucks, Blues, and Coyotes.
But it's not that simple. To shoot high, one needs slightly more time, and that's not time the Kings give anyone. They close on shooters and their lanes to the net too fast. Secondly, it takes the kind of marksmanship only the top talent can provide, and the Devils allotment of that talent is getting swallowed up. Third, missing while aiming for that area above Quick's shoulders does not provide rebounds or scrambles, as they tend to miss the net altogether and ring out of the zone. Not that the Devils should ignore this, but it's not the end-all, be-all cure.
What they will try tonight, because Kings' coach Darryl Sutter isn't too concerned with match ups, is get Zach Parise away from Anze Kopitar's line, which they did more of in Game 2 than Game 1. The Devils need offense, and having their top line chase the only Kings line producing a threat around isn't going to help that. If they can get that line more looks at D-men other than Drew Doughty, it should help. But on the road that's harder to do, as the Devils have to put their line out first. Look for Parise to play with everyone in an attempt to sneak away.
For the Kings, there might be a feeling they don't have to do anything, but that would be wrong. A simple creak from Quick, and it's a series again. He's been holding them up as the Devils have gained more and more traction. Expect the Kings to really up the physical pressure in front of a rabid Staples crowd tonight, and see if they can't get the Devils more on the back foot and get more turnovers.
Sam Fels is the proprietor of The Committed Indian, an unofficial program for the Chicago Blackhawks. His work has appeared on NBC Chicago, SB Nation, Yahoo's Puck Daddy and NBC's Pro Hockey Talk. Fels is a lifelong hockey fan and also writes for Second City Hockey.