Just as they did Thursday night in Los Angeles, the Kings and Sharks will have one collective eye cast toward another game as they prepare for their own. This time, it’s the Phoenix-Minnesota game, because if the Coyotes take away two points, they will win the Pacific Division, leaving the Kings and Sharks to battle for seventh place in the Western Conference. That game in Minnesota might end just as the Kings and Sharks are getting ready to face off. If the Coyotes will, win there be some letdown for the Kings and Sharks? Jarret Stoll said no.
STOLL: “That’s the preparation you need. That may be the case, but you’re not a very good mental player if that’s the case. You’ve got to play the same. That starts this morning. That starts now. That’s the pregame meal, the nap, all that stuff. It doesn’t matter what any other team does. You just want to make sure you’re playing the right way in the last game of the season. We obviously want to win it. We want to get the two points. You never know what happens in the other game. Things could work out for you. You’ve got to put yourself in that situation.’’
Darryl Sutter and Todd McLellan both spoke about tonight’s game in terms of getting their teams prepared for the playoffs. Of course, that’s a little bit of coach-speak. By definition, the winning team tonight will have done the things it wants to do, going into the playoffs, and the losing team won’t. Still, the coaches, it seems, want to emphasize the process, rather than the results, tonight.
SUTTER: “We’ve both put ourselves in a position where we’re watching another team decide it. We’re just concentrating on (the idea) that we are getting some sort of focus for whoever and wherever we play. I think that’s way more important than anything to do with the emotion (of tonight’s game) or individual.
“I want us to do some things better to prepare us for the first game of the playoffs, that we didn’t do as well as we should have in the last game. I’m probably saying the same thing that they’re saying on their side. There are three or four things that are important to both teams, that effect how they will play when playoffs start. Habits creep into your game, and you have to get rid of them in a hurry or else they carry over.’’