Goals could be at a premium again
Will it be another defensive struggle between the Kings and the Calgary Flames? In the teams’ last two meetings, a total of three goals were scored in regulation, as Calgary won 2-1 in a shootout and 1-0 in regulation. Given that the teams are coached by brothers and that both have excellent goalies and deep defenses, that’s not a surprise. With the stakes even higher tonight, and with the two teams potentially battling for one playoff spot, the intensity only figures to rise.
BRENT SUTTER: “When we’re playing the right way, we defend well and we’re smart in the way we play the game. You look at the other night, and when we got ourselves in trouble in different spots in the game, it was because we had turnovers in the neutral zone and we allowed the transition game to come back on us. When we’re doing it right, we’re good at that. They’ve got a player on their team now that we haven’t seen yet, in Carter. He’s a very good offensive player, and we’ve got to recognize that. If you look at their hockey team, it’s a pretty good hockey team, a very good hockey team, with a lot of youth and jam on their team, and they bring good goaltending. We’ve had good games. Every game has been a hard-fought game. Tonight, you’ve got to expect it’s going to be a playoff-type game.’’
In preparation, the Kings stayed off the ice yesterday, as they’re in the middle of a tough stretch of games and a tough schedule. Since his arrival in Los Angeles, Darryl Sutter has been consistent in his message to players. Sutter is willing to give the team rest between games, as long as the effort is present on game days.
DARRYL SUTTER: “You’ve got to be careful. We’re still in a four (games) in six nights thing. I see a lot of people who travel with us sleeping on planes and taking days off, so I’m sure they can relate the fatigue to you. It’s simple. We play tonight, and then we go Friday-Saturday and we play Monday again. It’s sort of managing it physically, and then trusting the mental part. Really, that’s what it is. Other than after the Edmonton game (at home), when we get two days before we play San Jose, it’s a different situation.’’