Jeff Carter’s hat trick in Game 2 vs. Chicago, May 21: The defending champion Blackhawks won Game 1 handily, turning misplays into goals and then built a 2-0 lead in the early moments of the second period of Game 2. Carter led the Kings’ comeback with three third-period goals in a 6-2 victory that changed the course of the series and put the Kings on a path to the Stanley Cup Final.
Here’s what Jeff Carter had to say about playing with Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli after their line propelled the Kings to a 4-3 victory Saturday night in Game 3 and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series: “It’s been great. Obviously, they have a lot of chemistry playing together in Manchester (of the AHL). They’re working hard and they’re having fun. They use their speed and skill to create opportunities. Kind of dragging me along with them, so it’s been good.”
Pearson: “I think everyone is stepping up all at once and knowing the job we have to get done. Tonight, we succeeded in that again. … We’re definitely rolling pretty good, but we can’t take our foot off the gas pedal. We’ve got to keep on going, each and every game. We’re capitalizing on our chances and it’s working out.”
Toffoli: “I’m having fun. This is incredible. Obviously, as a young guy, you dream of being in the Stanley Cup playoffs and the past three games have been probably my best three games of the playoffs.”
Jeff Carter’s third-period hat trick in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals marked the first time a Kings player scored three goals in a single period in a playoff game since Tommy Williams on April 14, 1974. Carter’s three-goal game was the 11th in Kings playoff history and his second. He added an assist on Tyler Toffoli’s third-period goal, giving him four points in the period and enabling him to set a club record and tie an NHL mark.
Asked if it was the best period of hockey he’s played in his career, Carter said, “I didn’t really have to do too much for them. Stood in front of them for the first one. ‘Greener’ (Matt Greene) and Tanner (Pearson) made a great play on the second one, so … It was a good period, but I really didn’t have to do too much.”
The Kings mishandled the puck in the neutral zone while the Ducks were on a second-period power play and deadlocked 1-all. Defenseman Hampus Lindholm pried the puck away from the Kings, passed it to Nick Bonino and then watched Bonino pass it to Teemu Selanne for the go-ahead goal.
Later, in the third period, the Kings coughed up the puck at center ice again, with Ben Lovejoy passing ahead to Andrew Cogliano and then beating Jonathan Quick with a high shot to the glove side after receiving a return pass. Lovejoy’s goal proved to be the game-winner in a 3-2 victory for the Ducks.
Each play troubled the Kings.
“We made some turnovers that cost us,” Kings forward Jeff Carter said. “We were pretty sloppy in the neutral zone and turned pucks over and had rushes the other way. That’s something we didn’t do in the first two games. So we have to clean that up. We have to be hard on pucks, make strong plays and get pucks deep.”
Injured defensemen Willie Mitchell and Robyn Regehr were not on the ice when the Kings held a short practice Wednesday morning in El Segundo. Forward Jeff Carter also was not on the ice, but Kings coach Darryl Sutter said he would try to give Carter and defenseman Drew Doughty plenty of rest during the playoffs.
“Jeff and Drew played a lot of hockey this year, played in the gold-medal game,” Sutter said, referring to Carter’s and Doughty’s participation with Canada in the Sochi Olympics. “The more (rest) you can give them, the better. (Carter) is not a guy who needs to skate. He does his work off the ice.”
That was about it as far as news goes.
Kings forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards have been here before, down and counted out four years ago. Carter, Richards and the Philadelphia Flyers did the unthinkable during the spring of 2010, however. They rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to defeat the Boston Bruins four games to three.
The Flyers joined the 1975 New York Islanders and the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs as the only teams in Stanley Cup playoff history to rally from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-7 playoff series. Carter, Richards and their Kings teammates hope to become the fourth team to pull it off.
The San Jose Sharks lead their first-round series against the Kings 3-0, with Game 4 set for Thursday night at Staples Center. The Sharks won the first two games in San Jose by scores of 6-3 and 7-2 and then pulled out a 4-3 overtime win in Game 3 on Tuesday at Staples Center.
“There’s not much you can say or show or do to inspire a team,” Richards said Wednesday. “I think you should be inspired enough with the opportunity we have in front of us. It’s easy to say, but I think as a group you just have to know, one, it’s not going to be easy and, two, it is possible.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for us to show everybody who’s kind of writing us off right now and to show how resilient we are as a group. We’ve done good things in the past. This is just another thing we have to be excited to accomplish.”
Said Carter: “It’s just one game at a time. That’s what it has to be. Three-oh is a big hole, but it’s been done before. You win that one game and you start to get some momentum going. We have to go into their building and win two games. You have to approach it as one game. You win that one game and you put a little doubt in their mind and they know we’re coming. That’s the way it has to be.”
Kings coach Darryl Sutter stated the obvious Monday, less than 24 hours after the San Jose Sharks took a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series with a 7-2 rout. Sutter said the difference in the series is the difference between the Kings’ lackluster third and fourth lines, plus their third defense pair, and the Sharks’ effective second set of six forwards and final defense tandem.
“Our role players and D need to show the tenacity their role players are showing when given a chance,” Sutter said. “We tried every matchup on earth last night possible. Kopi (Anze Kopitar) played against everybody. Jeff (Carter) played against everybody. That was not an issue.
“Any of those matchups haven’t been a problem in this series. The problem is when they put guys who work hard and try to prove something going forward out there. We haven’t matched up well. That’s clear. It was a problem for us last year, too. We didn’t have a fourth line last year. It’s been a moving target this year and it’s been a moving target the first two games.”
Here’s the link, from a veteran columnist who actually follows hockey: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/flyers/20140325_Flyers_since_the_Carter__Richards_trades.html
Here’s the link. Spoiler alert, he didn’t say much more Monday morning to Philadelphia reporters than he did Saturday to Los Angeles scribes. http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/sports/flyers/LAs-Carter-expects-boos-as-he-returns-vs-Flyers-.html
Kings forward Jeff Carter claimed his return to Philadelphia was “not a big deal.” But he sure seemed to be in a hurry to get there after the Kings’ 4-0 victory Saturday over the Florida Panthers at Staples Center, edging away from reporters who wanted to know more about his feelings for the City of Brotherly Love.
“It is what it is,” Carter said, relying on a very tired cliche. “It’s been three years since I left there. … It’s a big game for both teams. They’ve been playing really well and we’ve started to get things going, so it should be a lot of fun.”
Carter played with the Flyers from 2005-11, but because of scheduling quirks hasn’t played in Philadelphia until now. The Kings (40-25-6) have won two in a row after losing three in a row after winning eight in a row. The Flyers (38-25-7) have won five consecutive, including a 4-1 victory Saturday over the St. Louis Blues.
Philadelphia dealt Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a package of players and draft picks June 23, 2011. He played 39 games with the Blue Jackets before the Kings acquired him for defenseman Jack Johnson and a first-round draft pick Feb. 23, 2012. Carter then helped the Kings win the Stanley Cup championship in 2012-13. He was their leading goal-scorer last season and is again in 2013-14.