Twice before, in the last month, the Kings have had a chance to close out a playoff series in Game 4 at home. Results were mixed. In the first round against Vancouver, the Kings led 1-0 after the first period but allowed two second-period goals and were forced to play Game 5 in Vancouver, where they won. In the second round against St. Louis, the Kings led 2-1 after the first period and held on to win. There’s no question that the first period tomorrow will be huge again. The Phoenix Coyotes gave a good push in the first period of Game 3 but couldn’t get a goal. They will be looking for the same type of effort in Game 4. The Kings have now seen both sides of what it’s like to try to close out a series in Game 4, and Drew Doughty they know how difficult it is.
DOUGHTY: “We’re trying to focus the same way we did in those other games. We need to come out there as if we’re down a couple games in this series. We know that they’re going to play their best game, so we need our best game too. It’s going to be the toughest one for us. They’re going to come out hard in those first five minutes, try to push us away, but we’ve got to make sure it’s our best game in this series.”
Doughty was asked whether it was tough not to think ahead, knowing that one more victory would put the Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals.
DOUGHTY: “It’s tough not to think ahead, but at the same time it’s easy because all you’re thinking about is that next game. We know we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’re not even close to being there yet, and going into the next game, we’re so excited to hopefully finish it off in front of our home fans.”
Dwight King had a good answer in regard to the Kings not being complacent. One could make the argument that the Kings played their best game in Game 1, and that there are some clear areas of improvement that the Kings must manage.
KING: “Obviously, if you watched last game, there were times when we were sloppy. We’re still working to get that full 60-minute effort. We’re getting closer. Working to get there eventually. We’re going to focus upon Sunday, hopefully get a little closer, bring a better effort from the start.”
As for the coach, Darryl Sutter, not surprisingly, has not varied his message. In Sutter’s view, it’s another game, and he will stress the same things going into Game 4 that he stressed going into Game 1, starting with a good start to the game.
SUTTER: “I think just trying to continue to harp detail on them. Hopefully they have the preparation skills to do that. … You’re going to get the same thing we got in the first period of last game, for sure. That’s logical, right? If I was those guys, I’d be doing the same thing. So, expect that. … I think they were really good in the neutral zone, and we weren’t as good.”