Kings Keep Looking Ahead
How do you come back from one of the epic choke jobs in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs? By doing your best impression of the chorus line from Annie.
“A loss is a loss,” defenseman Jack Johnson said.
“It’s a seven-game series for a reason,” defenseman Matt Greene added.
The Kings still own the record for their epic five-goal comeback in the third period on April 10, 1982 against the Edmonton Oilers to go on to win 6-5 in overtime in the Miracle on Manchester. The 63-point Kings team went on to defeat the 111-point Oilers team in that series.
Prior to last night there were two other four-goal comebacks: Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins on April 8, 1971 in the first round of the playoffs en route to their Stanley Cup Championship; Minnesota North Stars at Chicago Blackhawks on April 28, 1985 in the Norris Division Final that was eventually won by the Hawks.
In the day after the San Jose Sharks capped a four-goal rally to defeat the Kings 6-5 on a Devin Setoguchi overtime goal at 3:08 the Kings are determined not to look back.
“Playoffs are a game where you can’t sulk,” goaltender Jonathan Quick said. “You can’t think about what could have happened the play before. You move on. I thought we did a good job of that the third period.”
That third period - that’s the light on the watchtower the Kings’ players made Wednesday afternoon during their off-day practice. And to the their credit they did just that giving up only nine shots-on-goal in the third period after giving up 18 in that epic second period when the Sharks decided to run a track meet on the ice.
“They’ve got a skilled team,” Greene said reflecting on that second period. “That’s when they do their best damage with their run-and-gun, playing like that, taking chances.”
Greene talked about being more disciplined in their own zone.
“That’s not our game. We can’t get into that. We’ve got to play tight defensively. We’ve got to get our chances by defending and getting stuff going the other way. We’re not going to create the five-man rushes that they can.”
It helps there is some veteran presence in the locker room. Defenseman Willie Mitchell was on the 2002-03 Minnesota Wild team that came back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Colorado Avalanche to advance to the second round.
“We were down 3-1 and we came back against a team that we weren’t supposed to beat,” Mitchell mused. “When you play a smart good team game, that will beat a team of individuals any day of the week. That was our identity so to speak. That was our blueprint to beat a team that some said were more skilled than us.”
Mitchell sees the Kings as being in a similar position.
“That’s our identity as a team here too as a team that plays a smart defensive game. We got away from that because we, as [Rob Scuderi] said earlier, showed immaturity in our game. We just need to be composed and stick with our things.”
The Kings will face off against the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 of their first round series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The puck drops at 7:30 and can be viewed on Fox Sports Prime Ticket and heard on AM 570 KLAC.