Can the Vegas Golden Knights bust the Los Angeles Kings and send them home for the summer?
Pessimistically speaking, the easy prediction for Game 4 of the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights series would be that this may be the last installment of predictions for any games in this series.
People often wonder what happened — “How did we lose the Stanley Cup?” or “How did we lose that playoff series?” The answer for the L.A. Kings in Game 3 of this series took 21 seconds late in the third period of Game 3, when Vegas sent the Kings fans into that uncomfortable feeling of knowing the end is near.
What’s worse is that the Kings have never had a better chance to get back in the series than the way they played in Game 3. The Kings outshot and outhit the Knights as well as spent a great deal more time in the Knights’ zone throughout the game. But in those 21 seconds, the Kings broke down and gave up 2 goals on consecutive quick plays in what will set up for a Game 4 that can only go one of two ways.
They have done it before
The Kings found themselves down 0-3 in the 2014 playoffs facing what appeared to be an unbeatable San Jose Sharks team. Lo and behold, the Kings played the one game at a time mentality and won four straight games on their way to their second Stanley cup. So can we draw any comparisons to that team? Yes and no. First of all, that team had many of the players on it who are currently on the roster, sans Jarret Stoll (now retired) and Mr. Game 7, Justin Williams. Those guys were crucial in two categories the Kings are lacking this season — clutch goals and won face-offs. The face-offs are critical to the Kings as giving the puck to Vegas at any moment gives them a chance to use their set plays and speed to generate scoring opportunities as they did late in Game 2 with goals off won face-offs. Nevertheless, not many people will give this year’s team a chance to win Game 4, or the series for that matter.
The Kings will come out on fire and if they can turn that into a few early goals, they may find themselves some life to see a Game 5. The Golden Knights have to smell blood in the water and will be relentless the entire game on their way to a series sweep and another record for this first year team. Who doesn’t love a good Rocky story?
But as Clubber Lange said to the interviewer in Rocky III when asked his prediction for the fight he simply muttered one word — “Pain!” Kings fans will feel that pain when this one’s, over as Vegas is just too driven and too talented to let this opportunity get away. If there is one thing the Golden Knights have done well all season, it is finish.