2013 NHL Playoffs: Kings At Blues Game Five Preview

Dilip Vishwanat

It's been a while since any of us can remember home ice advantage mattering so much in a series.

Is this a game five elimination game? No. Should it be? Yes. Should we keep being mad about the fact that it isn't? Only if the Blues manage to lose tonight, because that would probably signify the biggest pissing away of a 2-0 series lead in franchise history. Oh! Wait, no, it would signify the ONLY pissing away of a 2-0 series lead in franchise history.

The home team has won every game this series, and neither team has won their games easily. This has been a tough, hard hitting series. Players are probably getting tired. Things are getting sloppy. Fans are getting frustrated. Welcome to playoff hockey!

The team should be slightly less tired tonight thanks to the fact that the Blues will be rolling four actual lines again. The Vladimir Tarasenko Insertion Experiment didn't work well on Monday, mostly because he was just used as insurance, not as an actual part of the line. Here comes the CPR line again, which should give more relief to the top nine than Hitchcock's move on Monday did. Hitchcock doesn't think that the line-up move was the cause of the problems, though.

"The difference in the hockey game wasn't the CPR line," Hitchcock said. "The difference was we gave up a bunch of odd-man rushes when we had no reason to, and that was the difference. That's what let them back in the hockey game.

"We just gave up too many easy scoring chances against top players. When you're looking at (Colin) Frasier on a 3 on 2, you're not sweating bullets. But when it's (Jeff) Carter and (Mike) Richards, or (Anze) Kopitar and (Dustin) Brown, that's when you are sweating bullets. And that's what happened. We gave up the wrong odd-man rushes to the wrong people and they slammed it right in the net."

You can't argue there, but you do have to wonder why those scoring chances happened? Was it because the players were tired and mentally not paying attention? Why were they tired? Will they be pooped tonight?

Hopefully not - and hopefully the fans won't be either. If you're going to the game, be loud, be obnoxious (I know you have it in you) and show the team that you don't think the series is over with yet. They still stand a very good chance of winning it. It's just going to take consistency.

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