ST. LOUIS — The play everyone will remember from the Kings’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Blues on Tuesday in the opener of their playoff series is, of course, Alex Steen’s shorthanded winner. According to the NHL, it was the first shorthanded overtime goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs since Fernando Pisani scored one for Edmonton on June 14, 2006, in a 4-3 victory over Carolina in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final.
Steen made an excellent read on the play. He dashed onto the ice and immediately tried to pressure Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, who left the puck exposed rather than putting his body between a potential forechecker and the puck.
Quick explained it simply Tuesday night.
“I tried to make a pass. He blocked it and scored,” said Quick, who made 40 saves to keep the Kings in a game they were being run out of in the early going.
“I don’t have an option to the left and you’re trying to force him to the left, trying to give my D-man a little more time with the puck…. You try to make him make a decision. And he got the stick on it.”
Here are two more views of the play from players who were on the ice.
First, defenseman Drew Doughty.
“It’s a tough play for Quickie,” Doughty said Wednesday after the Kings’ optional practice at Scottrade Center.
“I’m going back on the left side and their guy’s kind of with me. I don’t think [Quick] had an out on the other side. I was calling for a rim around the boards and I can see why he doesn’t want to rim it, because that creates a battle for me. So it was just a tough bounce. He tried to make the right play. He drew the guy in and tried to bank it to me, and I would have been able to take off because that guy would have been low. It was the right play to make. It was just unfortunate how it panned out.”
Rookie Jake Muzzin, in his first NHL playoff game, was the other defenseman on the ice.“I had just hopped on the ice and I was skating back,” said Muzzin, who had a rocky start but settled down later in the game. “And when I got into the zone it was kind of a fluke.
“I think Quickie just shot it and it hit his stick. Those plays are going to happen. Hockey is a weird game. Quickie played so well. We can’t put that one on him. It could have been a lot worse than that.”Doughty said Quick handled the incident well.
“He obviously was pretty upset with himself off the bat, but after that he was fine,” Doughty said. “He played an amazing game. He was really good. He’s pretty much the whole reason we even made it to overtime. No one is blaming him for that loss.”A few more notes: Defenseman Robyn Regehr said he was “lucky it wasn’t worse” after he was hit in the face by David Backes’ foot and suffered a broken nose early in the third period on Tuesday. Regehr missed only about six or seven minutes of the game.
“I think the first skate came in and the blade barely missed me. And then the second, I just kind of got hit by the back of the heel,” said Regehr, whose nose was swollen and purple on
He didn’t need any stitches. “I think I just straightened it out a little bit,” he said, adding that he had stopped counting how many times he had broken his nose.A dozen players and goalie Jonathan Bernier participated in Wednesday’s optional session in advance of Game 2 on Thursday at Scottrade Center. Among them was defenseman Matt Greene, who missed the season finale and Tuesday’s series opener. Coach Darryl Sutter said he’d hoped Greene would have been able to get more games in after returning from back surgery but Greene played only four games before sustaining an unrelated injury.
Sutter wouldn’t be specific about Greene’s status but he hinted that Muzzin and Keaton Ellerby will keep their spots in Game 2 and that Greene won’t return.
“It’s not just healthy. He’s got to be up to speed,” Sutter said. “He needed about 10 games, to be quite honest. You don’t just put him in the lineup because he’s Matt Greene. Matt Greene has to be able to play, to perform.
“We were hoping to get more games, quite honest, from him before and he got banged up. We’ll see. I’m quite happy playing those two kids because they’re both very capable, too.”