In talking with people after the game last night, the general sense was that the Kings had a golden opportunity to put away the Red Wings in the second period. The Kings played a strong first period, the Red Wings were shorthanded and the Detroit crowd was dead.
Give credit to the Wings for raising the level of their play, but the Kings simply flat-lined in the second period. The offensive chances stopped, Jonathan Quick gave up a bad early goal, the Kings took four penalties and the Red Wings took control. Today, Murray talked about that collapse and tried to put it in some context.
MURRAY: “It’s an attitude. It’s a culture. The Detroit Red Wings have been doing this since about 1993. They’ve been one of the top offensive teams in the National Hockey League since that time, and they figured out how to win in ’97. That was after a lot of heartbreak playoff series. Then they finally figured it out and now they have a culture that’s well-established. They put new players into the lineup. They were missing four key guys from their lineup last year, and against us last night they were able to get the job done.
“But we opened the door. It was our game to win. We let them in. We gave up a bad goal on the first faceoff. Richardson got thrown out, but Lewis is the center iceman. He’s supposed to take it, not Peter Harrold. We lose the draw, and that puck is missing the net and it’s pulled into the net off (Quick’s) pad. We need those saves. Look, when you go in to play Detroit, and several other teams in the NHL that are high offensive teams, you have to have great goaltending. I don’t care how well you play, they’re going to generate scoring chances.
“Goaltending is critical, and our goaltending last night has to be better, and it has to be better against the New York Rangers. That’s a fact of the business, period. I told the players, the two goaltenders, that, and that’s just the way it is. We have to put more demands on ourselves. But then it becomes…there’s a goal, and another goal on the power play, but you have to be able to regroup, and I thought we really took a step backward at that time. So that’s where we’ve got to figure it out.’’