Mike Richards (concussion) skated this morning with the Clifford-Nolan line and could be back for tonight’s Game 5. However, it’s a coin flip, according to LA Kings coach Darryl Sutter.
“It’s possible,” Sutter said. “I’d say it’s 50-50.”
Here’s an excerpt from my column in today’s LA Daily News:
The Kings are on the road again.
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The Kings are complete busts on the road this season. Last year, they wrote the manual on how to win playoff games on the road, where they lost just once in winning the organization’s first Stanley Cup championship.
This playoff season, the Kings are totally befuddled on the road, where they’ve lost every game but one.
The Kings’ season can come to a crashing halt Saturday in Chicago, where Game 5 is an elimination game for them in the Western Conference finals.
Chicago leads the best-of-seven series 3-1 and can advance to the Stanley Cup Finals with one more win. The Kings would need to win three consecutive games to advance, and two of those would be on the road.
If their season were to end today, it would be fitting for the Kings if it happened the road, because that’s where most of their debacles have happened.
In their eight road games, the Kings have scored 11 goals, averaging 1.4 per road game. It’s amazing the Kings have even come this far.
Really, the Kings don’t score much at home, either, and are averaging just 2 goals per game this postseason. Goaltender Jonathan Quick has made up for the paltry offense, most of the time.
But they established a particularly disturbing trend by taking their road play to a new low. Quick has played well, but when he didn’t, the Kings were pummeled 4-2 in Game 2 in Chicago.
And because Quick was shaky in net in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to Chicago, the Kings have too many deficiencies to count.
This could be it, today. The Kings could be down to their last game.
And unfortunately for them, it’s on the road.
“We’re not happy with the situation we’re in, but they’ve got to win four games,” captain Dustin Brown said. “Right now they’ve only won three. We still have life We’re not going into a do-or-die game thinking we’ve struggled on the road. We’re going into this game thinking we need to win. We have to find a way to grind it out. Your record on the road doesn’t play into a game like (today).”
Jeff Carter was slashed in the face by Duncan Keith at 7:58 in the second period by Duncan Keith, who was assessed a double minor for high-sticking. Carter was in the training room receiving stitches after the game and was unavailable.
Darryl Sutter was available and not happy.
“That’s retlaiation,” he said. “That’s not high-sticking.”
Asked if he thinks the NHL will do anything about it – ie. a suspension – Sutter said: “I don’t expect nothing.”
Duncan Keith says it was an accident.
“Yeah, it was accidental. Obviously, I wanted to give him a tap, but not where I got him. I felt bad. I’m glad to see that he came back. It was just a scuffle. It was an assked.”
Asked if he was concerned the NHL will look into it, he said: “I have no idea. I said it was an accident.”