What is a heavy game? Many announcers are using the phrase when talking about the St. Louis Blues, and the LA Kings because both teams employ a punishing, forechecking style that wears teams down. Coaches Ken Hitchcock and Dour Darryl Sutter of the Blues and Kings respectively are proponents of the style and it has vaulted both teams into the upper echelon of the Out West teams.
The Blues played a heavy game Tuesday against the Flyers and the result was no goals… for either team, the Blues eventually winning in the shootout. The Kings played their version of a heavy game Wednesday against a Coyotes team that looked outmatched, LA winning 4-0.
The Kings and Sharks hooked up last night in a playoff preview in San Jose and, there it was again the “Heavy Game Out West.” Cracks me up that the eggheads in Toronto call every game in the Western conference Out West, but I digress. Both teams came to play, smacking each other around pretty good and the Kings drew first blood scoring early in the first on a nice tip play off of a point shot.
The goal seemed to galvanize the Sharks to match the Kings punishing style and the hitting ramped up to the point where everyone on the Sharks was buying in and kicking a little LA ass. LA was playing the second game of a back to back when D Jason Demers threw a hip check that got more leg than hip and the Kings took exception, but couldn’t score on the power play…. all night going 0-5.
That check was indicative of the play all night as the Sharks laid a franchise record 52 hits on the Kings, who also lost their franchise defenseman Drew Doughty to an apparent shoulder injury while checking Tyler Kennedy. Big blow for Kings.
In the second period the Sharks broke through and scored on the infamous Marvin Jones on a great tip on a Brent Burns snapper to tie the score. Five minutes later Jones was victimized by Logan Couture on a wrap around to take the lead 2-1.
That was the final score but by no means was the hitting and ferocity toned down. The Sharks actually morphed into the Heavy Game mode and kept the forecheck up for the rest of the game instead of trying to protect a one goal lead. Refreshing to say the least. I for one want to see San Jose play a more physical style for a couple of reasons.
First of all, they have the potential to play that way because of they have the big bodies. Those big bodies need to play bigger and nastier. The second reason is there is no way they are going far in the playoffs without escalating their forecheck because Anahymen, LA and St. Looie play that game and the Cup goes through those teams in my opinion.
The skill and the hitting Out West is making for some great viewing, come on Out West and check us out!