Can the Kings avoid another slide?
The last time the Kings’ play dipped, things snowballed quickly. The Kings’ 6-3 loss at San Jose on Nov. 15 was a proverbial punch in the nose, and it essentially took the Kings two weeks to recover, as that loss started a 1-7-0 skid. In some ways, Wednesday’s 6-3 loss at Phoenix had much the same feel as that San Jose game, and the Kings’ challenge now is to prevent another such slide from taking place, particularly with seven consecutive home games to come. It starts tomorrow night against San Jose, and I asked Michal Handzus today about the team’s awareness about not letting things slide again…
HANDZUS: “We have a big homestand, and I think it’s a really critical point of our season. We’ve got to get as many points on the board as we can. So we can’t let a slide happen, and we’ve got to really focus. We’ve got good teams coming in. We’ve been playing pretty good at home, so we’ve just got to refocus. It goes to basics. We’ve got to do the little things well. Sometimes we try to do too much, and one guy is trying to do the other guy’s job, and that’s when breakdowns happen. We have to have more trust, especially in our own zone.
“The whole team, we know what we have to do. We’ve done it, pretty much, for the last three years, so we’ve just to refocus a little bit and just get back to basics. We’ve got to be stronger along the boards, win the battles and be stronger on the puck. Sometimes we give them, in our zone, too much space, and they start cycling and we’re just kind of running around. So we’ve got to close down harder, play harder and just go back to basics. We know how we have to play.”