We learned a lot about both the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night. After jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead just 21 minutes into Game 3 of their first round NHL playoff game, the Kings quickly lost that lead after a big San Jose surge resulted in a 5-5 tie by the end of the second period.
Things quieted down in the third period before Devin Setoguchi scored just three minutes into the first overtime period, completing one of the largest comebacks in Stanley Cup Playoff history. As SB Nation's Kings blog Jewels From The Crown wrote after the game, L.A.'s lack of experience cost them.
Another low point in the season: tonight, when the Kings were up 4-0 at the start of the second. I thought, okay, there's no way the rest of this game will be fun to watch. At best, it will be boring. At worst, well...
The Sharks showed composure when they were down 4-0. The Kings, up 4-0, did not. My thought: the Kings are inexperienced and they allowed themselves to relax. Not a great idea.
The math of that is pretty simple. You play with discipline and as a result you win. But playing with discipline is hard and takes a lot of effort and hurts your brain. It would be so much easier just to do whatever you want and after all aren't I great, I've been great my whole life, I should be able to play "my game." So once you start winning, there's a war going on regarding who gets the credit, the player or the system. And, it's human nature, at a certain point the players let their guard down and allow themselves to feel good about how great things are going.
This kind of loss can certainly wake a team up. We know the Kings can hang with the Sharks and potentially even win this series against the No. 2 seed in the West, but it's going to take a bit more maturity and a little more urgency for that to happen.