What we learned from Game 1: Woulda, coulda, shoulda.... The Ducks played an incredible game, stuck right with the Kings in terms of possession and came up seven seconds short. On the podcast and all of our series preview posts we talked a lot about how the Ducks need to be opportunistic against the Kings in order to win the series and the first game was nothing, if not an ENORMOUS missed opportunity.
Specifically in the first half of the second period, or so, the Ducks were in complete control of the game and couldn't get anything to go, whether it was shots off the posts or saves by Jonathan Quick, they couldn't capitalize on their chances and it cost them in the long run as they once again couldn't close out a playoff game.
What needs to change for this game: Honestly, not very much. Eric was completely correct after the game when he tweeted the following
Have to feel like if Ducks can play like that for the whole series, they've got a great chance at winning it. Just gotta convert on chances.— Eric (@EricTheHawk) May 4, 2014
However, that is as big an if as you can get. There really isn't much to imply that the Ducks will be able to replicate that performance. Based on the regular season series between these teams, the possession gap will only widen in favor of the Kings, which plays right into their hands.
Also, the loss of Robyn Regehr at the end of the first period left the Kings with only five defensemen for most of the game which forced all of the remaining D into more ice time than they would have preferred.
Another probable difference between the two games is that Quick, most likely, will not be a complete idiot and wonder out of his crease to follow Ryan Getzlaf behind the net for no reason as he did on the Ducks' first goal.
The only specific thing I can think of tactically is to try and get more bodies to the net. The physicality was good, forechecking good, possession awesome, getting to dangerous scoring areas good, but to beat Quick you need to pounce on any and all rebounds. He is ultra aggressive at challenging the shooter and with guys in and around his crease he'll either be forced to play in a deeper position than he would like, or give up more space for rebound chances. The difficulty, of course is that the Kings defense know this and collapse around him well in order to box out the screen and keep opposing forwards away from rebounds.
So, what I'm saying is the Kings have room to improve, more than the Ducks do, and they're already up a game in this series. All the Ducks can really do is play the same way and hope that the bounces go in their favor this time. That's a scary proposition for me.
Much like Kid ish said in his playoffmetrics post yesterday, I would like to see more Devante Smith-Pelly and less Bryan Allen. DSP was outstanding, on top of strong possession numbers, he was robbed by quick in the first period and looked like an absolute force down low in the overtime. And make no mistake, Bryan Allen was THE reason that Game 1 went to overtime and was eventually lost. Regardless of how big he is, and how he can hang with the Kings' forecheck he needs to be held accountable for that. He has the size but didn't use it. It would be sooooo nice to still have Stephane Robidas and be able to replace Allen with Fistric, but no such luck. Damn you Ryan Garbutt.
Roster changes: Can we get some kind of special dispensation to trade Bryan Allen for.... anything? A bag of pucks? An empty bag of pucks? No.... ok, well then probably not much for the Ducks.
As mentioned before, the Kings lost Regehr early in Game 1 and still have Willie Mitchell listed as day-to-day. Lisa Dillman of the LA Times speculates that it should be Jeff Schultz, who was called up when Mitchell was ruled out but hasn't drawn into the lineup yet, that will replace Regehr. The Kings do have the full compliment of all their "Black Aces" as the Manchester Monarchs were ousted from the Calder Cup playoffs by our very own Norfolk Admirals on Friday night.
Fearless prediction: The Fenwick/Corsi gap will be larger, not in a good way.