Throughout the next month, LAKI will be reviewing the top 10 moments of the Los Angeles Kings season as a recurring feature entitled “I Was There.”
KingsCast recently finished a similar endeavor, complete with screen grabs, video highlights and commentary. Alex Kinkopf’s #TopTen list is recommended as a great account of the 2012-13 season.
I Was There #7: Game 4 comeback over St. Louis
Los Angeles-St. Louis games have developed into defensive battles renowned for their heightened physicality, though there were some anomalous outcomes in the season series. The Kings’ 6-4 comeback win over the Blues on March 5 – a game that did not make the I Was There top-10 list but will be included in the honorable mentions – was the highest scoring game that took place at Staples Center in 2012-13.
After a total of seven goals were scored in the first three games of the teams’ first round playoff series, seven combined goals were scored in Game 4 as the Kings fought back from an early 2-0 deficit to tie the game in the first period and engineered another comeback after turning a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 victory, courtesy of an Anze Kopitar equalizer and a Justin Williams game-winning deflection. Though St. Louis’s effort was top notch in their 1-0 Game 3 defeat, Los Angeles was the better team territorially through the vast majority of Game 4, one of two emotional comebacks during the Kings’ playoff run.
I mean, just watch Dustin Brown and Kopitar scream at each other…
There’s not much Brian Elliott can do there, as Brown protects the puck so well along the boards despite pressure from T.J. Oshie as Kopitar glides unmarked to an area of the ice where goals are frequently scored. There’s also great hand-eye coordination from Kopitar to snap Brown’s feed into an open part of the net for his first goal in 20 games. Roman Polak, that’s some mighty fine standin’ around.
76 seconds later, Justin Williams deflected the game-winner past Elliott off Mike Richards’ wrister towards the net from the left hash marks. Also note Dwight King out-hustling Barret Jackman to free a puck loose for Richards:
Though he wasn’t at his best early on in this game, Jonathan Quick made his biggest saves when they mattered most.
Aesthetic beauty: Kopitar’s goal ranks very high. Williams’ goal is a typical greasy deflection goal that helps teams win playoff games. The most attractive goal from this game was the tic-tac-toe goal finished off by Dustin Penner in the first period.
Lasting impact: Moderate-to-high. Falling behind three-games-to-one before heading back to St. Louis would not have been among Los Angeles’ best interests. Really, though – and this foreshadows future I Was There posts – there were events that took place later in this series that will be the first things thought of when looking back at this first round match-up several years from now.
KingsCast #7: Calgary for two