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Kings Maintain Focus Before Game 3
While a lot of people are shocked and pleased that the Kings have a 2-0 series lead over the Vancouver Canucks with the series headed back to Los Angeles, none of the players are feeling comfortable.
"We feel fortunate to be up 2-0," Jarret Stoll said during a team-optional skate Saturday afternoon.
The rhetoric was spot on from the players, what every fan wants to hear.
"If anything we've got to act like we're down a couple," Drew Doughty said. "We can't go in there relaxing or taking them too easy because they're going to come even harder.
"With one win they can turn the series around just like that."
And it's great to hear them talk this way since in their last two playoff runs, the Kings have only won one game at STAPLES Center: Game 3 of their playoff series against the Canucks in 2010. Captain Dustin Brown admitted the players aren't necessarily focused on that particular statistic, but they know what needs to be done.
"Everyone knowns the situation we're in, the position we've put ourselves in now," Brown explained. "As big as those two games in Vancouver were, this time of the year it's always the next game which is the bigger game.
"We've just got to hit the reset button and act like we're on an even playing field."
An even playing field is something they need to work on. In five-on-five situations, the Kings have only scored three which in itself is a deceiving stat: one was scored just as a power-play expired and one was an empty-netter at the end of Game 1.
"I felt like we were making too many turnovers," Doughty said about the even-handed situations in Game 2. "We were getting a lot fo shots blocked in the last game. We were giving some of their key guys like [Ryan] Kesler and [Henrik] Sedin too much room.
"When you're giving those two guys room, they're going to be making plays and goals are going to be going in the net."
Anze Kopitar put it simply: "We just have to be more aggressive."
For head coach Darryl Sutter, he sees a key spot for improvement.
"With the way the game is played now, it's about how much you have the puck," Sutter said. "We didn't have it as much as we'd like. You're not going to dominate that part of the game, but you try on five-on-five to have the puck as much as possible."
But Sutter did admit that he's pleased with the power-play, as shocking as that statement might have been months ago.
"Our power-play, that's been the difference in the series. Power-play goals, we've scored three, and we scored two short-handed goals.
"I said before goaltending and special teams ultimately if you want to upset a top team, that's what it comes down to and you harp on the five-on-five stuff."
The Kings will still not have Kyle Clifford in the lineup with concussion symptoms, and Brad Richardson is still recovering from his appendectomy. For Vancouver, Daniel Sedin also remains sidelined with concussion symptoms.
The team knows that Vancouver is desperate and will throw everything including the kitchen sink at the Kings Sunday night. The question is despite the rhetoric, will the Kings step up to the plate?
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