Maybe you had forgotten about Anze Kopitar, but Terry Murray hasn’t.
The question after Thursday’s Game 4 loss was fairly innocuous –can any lineup changes be made at this point, down three games to one? — but the answer was revealing.
“I’m playing what I’ve got,” Murray said. “Kopitar’s not coming back, guys. He’s got a broken leg.”
Well, yeah. We knew that.
Maybe the more important question is, why can’t the Kings play defense all of a sudden?
They scored twice in the final nine minutes of the second period to spoil Antti Niemi’s shutout and pull within 3-2 heading into the final frame.
Yet just as the wheels came off in the second period of Game 3, when San Jose erupted for five goals to erase a 4-0 Kings lead,there was Joe Thornton and no one else, alone in the slot with all the time in the world to score the Sharks’ fourth goal.
“That was a big goal for us,” San Jose forward Logan Couture said. “That gave us the confidence back, the swagger we have on the ice.”
The Sharks scored the next two goals to make it a 6-2 game, and the verdict was unsealed: It was going to take a miracle for the Kings to save this series.
Catch all the game details in tomorrow’s editions. Here are a few notes that won’t make the paper. Some more notes and observations:
The Kings have been down 1-3 in a series 10 previous times, and have come back after being down 1-3 in a series once (1989 Smythe Division Semifinals vs. Edmonton). When asked what it would take to come back, Murray said: “It takes a strong level of composure and poise. Playing hard between the whistles, keeping referees out of the game. In our case, because of their power-play being so good, it takes a lot of compete, hard play, team play, doing the right things. Every shift has to be done the right way if you want to come back.”
Ryan Smyth has a point in every game this series (1-3=4). His longest playoff point streak is six (done twice: last May 10 to May 21, 2006).
Dustin Penner’s slide into oblivion continues. He played 10:56 (more than only two teammates,Kevin Westgarth and Alexei Ponikarovsky) and finished minus-1.
Dustin Brown has 29 hits in the series.
The Kings have killed 14 of 16 San Jose power plays in the series (87.5 percent)
Tonight was Terry Murray’s 99th all-time playoff game as a head coach (49-50)
The family of Brian Stow, the Giants fans who was injured in an attack at a Dodgers game earlier this season, attended tonight’s game as a guest of the Kings and Sharks. The Sharks paid for their tickets and the Kings paid for their dinner.