It remains to be seen what impact the Kings’ rally to win Game 2 of their second-round playoff series has the rest of the way. It seemed to energize them immediately after the game and to deflate the San Jose Sharks. Daryl Evans is perhaps uniquely qualified to talk about what rallies do for a team in the playoffs.
“It was a great comeback,” said Evans, a Kings radio analyst who knows a thing or two about comebacks as the man who scored the winning goal in overtime to cap “The Miracle,” a 6-5 win over the Edmonton Oilers on April 10, 1982 at the Forum.
Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter said when asked about a 4-3 victory that gave them a 2-0 lead over the San Jose Sharks in their best-of-7 second-round series: “You have to win a lot of different ways. I don’t think there’s a consistent pattern to it at all. It’s like taking tonight and going to the last game. What was the difference between tonight and last game? I didn’t like how many penalties we took. Our penalty-killing did a good job. The power play came through for us. But every game is different.”
San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan outperformed Kings counterpart Darryl Sutter after Game 1. So we have a guest for our quote of the night
“We have to find ways to score,” San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. “We have to make it harder on them. All the cliches, I can stand up here and use them all. But it’s about getting it done. When the night ends, you have to have the job done.
“You can have as many good looks as you want. You can be in alone. You have to find ways to finish and we have players who are very capable of doing that. We have players who are capable of scoring greasy, dirty, playoff-style goals.”
Kings coach Darryl Sutter had this to say about defenseman Robyn Regehr playing despite a broken nose: “He got hit in the nose again. It’s broke, so he can’t re-broke it.”
Jeff Carter scored his first goal of the playoffs in the Kings’ 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 on Monday night, after recording a team-leading 26 during during the regular season. Anze Kopitar scored his first goal since March 25, ending a 19-game drought. Justin Williams scored his second of the playoffs, the go-ahead strike. Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter had to say about all of that:
“Jeff scores a great goal. ‘Willie’ has been good the whole series. Good to see ‘Kopi’ score. That’s what they’re supposed to do. That’s what series are about. If you covered the playoffs last year, it’s all about big goals, not who scores them. But at the same time, who normally leads your team in scoring, you have to be close to that.”
Willie is Williams, of course. Kopi is Kopitar.
Coach Darryl Sutter got a little cranky Sunday when he was asked about the Kings managing only two shots on goal in the third period in Game 3. Sutter said of the Blues’ 10-2 advantage in shots in the final period, “Whatever. Whatever. You count shots. I don’t.”
“You’ve got to understand,” he also said. “It’s the playoffs. It’s one-goal games. All three of them were one-goal games. Everybody’s trying to score a goal, but it’s not that easy when you have the two best defensive teams in the conference (meeting in the series).”
The Kings scored one goal for the third straight game, but it was enough to defeat the St. Louis Blues and trim their deficit in the best-of-7 series to 2-1. Kings coach Darryl Sutter had this to say about the team’s lack of scoring: “If you look at the series, 5-on-5 is so tough. There are a lot of little battles going on that only the players appreciate or understand. Your top guys can’t get frustrated and start playing their individual game. The two teams are very even, gave up the fewest shots in the conference, one and two. Both goaltenders, everybody understands who they are and what they are.”
There are probably a million ways to analyze the Kings’ overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Tuesday. It’s possible to trim them down to just two and still cover all the basics of a 2-1 Kings loss, however.
The Kings’ victory Sunday over the Dallas Stars improved their record at Staples Center this season to 18-4-1, with one game on home ice still to play. They have won six consecutive games at home and are 9-2-3 in their last 14 overall. They clinched no worse than sixth place in the Western Conference with Sunday’s 4-3 overtime win over the Stars. So, what’s next? Well, the Kings hit the road Monday for a two-game trip to play the Minnesota Wild and the Detroit Red Wings before returning home for the regular-season finale Saturday against the San Jose Sharks.
“We should keep going like that and build on the game,” center Anze Kopitar said late Sunday. “There’s some good stuff happening on the ice.”
The Kings won’t win the Western Conference or the Pacific Division. The best they can do is finish fourth in the conference and second in the division. But with only three regular-season games remaining before they begin their Stanley Cup championship defense, it would be difficult to find a team playing better then the Kings are at the moment.