Watching. The. Los. Angeles. Kings. Play. Hockey. Is. Painfully. Slow. Sort. Of. How. This. Sentence. Reads.
When Alex Iafallo scored the overtime winner at Rogers Place Monday night to seal Game 1 of the Oilers/Kings Part II, it felt like the culmination of a comeback that happened in slow motion. This may have been the slowest 4-3 game I have ever seen.
The Kings were able to do something that I’ve never seen a road team pull off in a playoff game in Edmonton. In the third period, though they were trailing on the scoreboard, they were able to suck the life out of the building. Rogers Place was rocking in the first period, but, by the third, you’d swear that it felt more like a midweek mid-season game against Arizona – even when it was 3-1 for the Oil. It seems counterintuitive (because it is), but the Kings roared back by slowing things down.
In fact, as playoff games go in Edmonton, I’d say this was one of the most blasé crowds I’ve (not) heard. Maybe it was the rain that doused the fans as they entered the building.
But, after an impressive first period in which the Oilers hemmed the Kings in their own zone for the better part of the 20 minutes, the Kings slowly, surely, clogged up the game like my diet does to my arteries.
Despite being down, the Kings stuck doggedly to their 1-3-1 system which clogs the neutral zone and robs the game of flow. And, they put Edmonton to sleep — both the crowd and the opposition.
And, with the Oilers and the home crowd in a lull, the Kings scored three times in the third — two from Adrian Kempe and a last-gasp game-tying goal from Anze Kopitar. Kopitar ended with a four-point night.