Upstart L.A. Kings Come ThisClose to Stealing Game One Vs. the Canucks

Game 1: Canucks 3, Kings 2 (OT)

The Kings took the Canucks to the limit and back Thursday in Game One of the Stanley Cup playoffs. And even though they found themselves on the losing side of the game, the club didn't seem that worried about it.

After all, the young Kings haven't been in the league long enough to actually feel the mounting pressure of playing in the postseason. Personally, my expectations were to get a feel for the stones of this squad in this first game. I didn't anticipate a win, especially playing at General Motors Place. But I was pleasantly surprised with the result.

In front of 18,000-plus crazed fans, the Kings took to the ice, then were subjected to one of the most stirring national anthems I have ever heard. For Canada. The singer charged with belting out "O Canada" actually stopped and let the crowd sing without missing a beat. It was impressive.

I give Canadians one thing: they really love being Canadian. It seeps into every pore of their being. And at first, I found it a little endearing. Then I was subjected to a Molson beer commercial during the first intermission, and I became slightly annoyed.

I'm all for thumping your chest in mock patriotism, but being barked at by some gruff dude, telling me that Canada has "more square feet of awesomeness per person than any other nation on Earth" is a bit much.

Back to Game One... Some of the Kings looked loose, like Drew Doughty and Wayne Simmonds, while others looked like they were gripping their sticks a but too much, like Jack Johnson. That's understandable, since it was their first time around and everyone deals with anxiety differently. But the important thing is that once the game started, they were all busy and played focused and ready. And they needed to, since the Canucks brought their A-Game as well.

All the questions swirling around both these goaltenders quickly disappeared. Especially for Quick, who looked to have r...

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