Right wing Justin Williams talked about it after the Kings’ 5-2 victory Saturday over the Dallas Stars at Staples Center. Defenseman Jake Muzzin addressed it, too. So did defenseman Drew Doughty after he scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the Kings’ fifth victory in their last six games. None of the three needed prompting.
The Kings certainly had their talking points well rehearsed late Saturday evening, not that there’s anything wrong with that. But the players seemed intent on letting anyone with a notepad, tape recorder, smart phone or other recording device know that they wish to forge an identity for the 2013-14 season.
And you thought they had done that by hiring Darryl Sutter as their coach, winning the Stanley Cup in 2011-12, advancing to the Western Conference finals before losing to the eventual champion Chicago Blackhawks and being regarded as a team to beat again this season. Apparently, you would be wrong.
Several players repeated the message Saturday, after the team improved to 6-3-0.
“What we need to do is create an identity again on the ice,” Williams said after scoring two goals and setting up Doughty for the go-ahead strike. “You need to do it every year. Whether it’s a tie game going into the third or you’re down a goal, you need to feel like you’re going to win.”
Said Muzzin, who had two assists in the Kings’ victory over the Stars, including one that set up Williams’ first goal: “We want to create a home identity, play hard at home, get pucks to the net and be physical. And this is a good step towards creating that.”
Added Doughty: “Our third period was really good, and that’s when we want to be good. We want to play a full 60-minute game, but if our best period is the third period and we’re going to go on and win every time, that’s definitely a good thing.
“We want to create an identity at home. We have a little bit of a homestand here, so we’ve got to create that. We’ve got to be a hard team to play against. We don’t want to have teams come into Staples and think it’s going to be an easy night. We want it to be hard for them.”