The last post mentioned poor power-play success rate as one area that can’t continue if a team hopes to have postseason success. Here’s another one. In six playoff games so far, the Kings have allowed the first goal three times, and they won all three of those games. In the regular season, the Kings had an 8-22-7 when they allowed the first goal. Stats such as that one don’t flip dramatically in the playoffs, meaning the averages are bound to catch up to the Kings eventually, if they continue to allow the first goal. Since his arrival, Darryl Sutter has put a big emphasis on the Kings starting the game well. St. Louis dominated the first 10 minutes of Game 1 and got a goal. The Kings rebounded, but allowing the first goal isn’t a formula for long-term success. Still, Darryl Sutter pointed out that the Kings don’t panic in such situations.
SUTTER: “We had to play just about every game like that for three months. I don’t think we were any different. I think it’s the importance of having a deep bench and trying to use everybody in a lot of situations. We’re probably like their team in a lot of ways, where you’ve probably got players up front playing different positions, which allows them to be on the ice in a lot of situations with different linemates, which does impact the game. Heck, you can look at the other night. Scotty Nichol, he’s out there a lot in situations that normally that line wouldn’t be in. We’re able to do that with Colin Fraser and Jarret Stoll. I don’t think up a goal, down a goal should affect how you play, unless you pull the goalie or the other team has got a power play. Five-on-five, teams that are still playing in the playoffs are going to play the same way.’’
Sutter was asked what he might change, in terms of better managing the early part of the game against the aggressive Blues, and Sutter offered…this.
SUTTER: “The game starts at 8:10, not 6:40. Be ready at 8:10. Tough night in the East. Hard on them guys. Think if we go into overtime.’’
Sutter offered…this, when asked about trying to better deal with the start of the game, if the Blues start as strong as they did in Game 1…
SUTTER: “Lots of young guys. Home team. Exciting building to play in. There you go. Put time on the clock.’’