After their practice in Vancouver today, the Canucks announced that Daniel Sedin, who has been out because of a concussion, would not travel with the team to Los Angeles. That would put Sedin out for tomorrow’s Game 3, and his status for the rest of the series is also in doubt, according to some reports. That certainly didn’t lead to any back-slapping or high-fiving around El Segundo today. It seemed clear that Darryl Sutter had a clear message to the Kings after their win last night, the message being, “You haven’t won anything.’’ To a man, the Kings talked today about the “reset button’’ and not taking things for granted despite a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Immediately after last night’s game, Sutter rattled off a laundry list of things that the Kings needed to improve. Whether that message sunk in with the players will be determined tomorrow. If nothing else, they were at least listening, because in individuals sessions with the media today, players talked at length about needing to be better. The Kings have dominated the special-teams battle, but a team can’t count on that every game. In 5-on-5 play, the Canucks have actually outscored the Kings 4-2. Not surprisingly, even strength play was a bit topic of discussion today. Here’s a sampling of the thoughts, from Drew Doughty, Jarret Stoll, Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and Sutter…
DOUGHTY: “We’ve got a lot of ways to get better there. I felt like we were making too many turnovers, or getting a lot of shots blocked last game. We were giving some of their key guys, like Kesler and Sedin, too much room. When you’re giving those two guys room, they’re going to make plays and goals are going to be going in the net. So we need to make sure we’re closing faster on them and getting more pucks in deep and having more puck-possession time, because if we have the puck more than them, obviously they wouldn’t be creating the chances they were.’’
STOLL: “In Game 2, they took it to us a little bit, 5-on-5. Our special teams obviously have been good, and they’re a big part of why we’re up two-nothing, along with Quickie. We’ve got to be better. I’m sure they’re saying the same things, but we know we can put together a better full 60-minute game. Five-on-five, special teams, all those things go into it.’’
KOPITAR: “We just have to be aggressive and create turnovers. Usually off of turnovers, chances come, and we want to make sure that when they do come, we want to bury them. There’s not a whole lot of chances out there, and when they do come, you want to bury them.’’
RICHARDS: “We know we have to play better. They controlled most of the game last night. They played well. Quickie had to make some big saves, and we probably relied on him too much last night. We’re at home right now, where we feel comfortable. We have to go in with confidence, but know that we have to play better. … I thought we turned too many pucks over last night, and gave them too many opportunities, which allowed them to play in our zone a whole lot.’’
SUTTER: “The bottom line is, with the way the game is played now, it’s how much you have the puck. You’re not going to dominate that part of the game, but you try, in 5-on-5, to have the puck as much as possible. With that is protecting it, or fighting for it and battling for it. It’s something that we can be a lot better at.’’