The Kings got some physical rest today, as they stayed off the ice and did workouts and got treatment. The bigger challenge, though, will be to stay mentally sharp. Everyone know that if the Kings win one more game, they will win the Stanley Cup. They’d like to do it tomorrow. But that’s no given. Three wins doesn’t guarantee a fourth win, and that fourth win won’t come unless the Kings come out and play an excellent overall game tomorrow night at Staples Center. That’s where the focus needs to be, on the first shift of the first period, not on any “ifs’’ about what might happen.
Some players have Stanley Cup Finals experience to draw upon, and some don’t. Colin Fraser, Dustin Penner, Rob Scuderi and Justin Williams have all been in “clinch’’ games before and got the job done. Drew Doughty has never been in this environment, but he did play for Canada in the 2010 Olympcis, when the team won the gold-medal game on home ice in Vancouver in front of a super-charged environment. Today, Doughty talked about what he took away from that game, in terms of playing in a big game, and teammates talked about trying to maintain focus going into Game 4…
DOUGHTY: “For me, even though it’s a big game, you’ve just got to try to treat it as another game. I’m obviously trying to be well-prepared and focused, the day before and the day of the game, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself and try to do too much about there, because once you put that pressure on yourself to do a lot, you’re going to make mistakes.’’
Question: You guys would probably play tonight if you could. Are you eager to get back out there?
DOUGHTY: “Yeah, definitely. We can’t wait to get started. It’s going to be nice to have a little day off here, and do some treatment and get your legs back, get some rest, but we can’t wait for tomorrow. Everyone is so anxious to get that next game going. It’s so much fun playing in front of a crowd like that. They were nuts last night, and it’s going to be a lot of fun in the next game.’’
Fraser was a member of the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks team that closed out Philadelphia in Game 6. Today, he talked about what Kings players will need to focus upon, in terms of not getting ahead of themselves…
FRASER: “I think that’s it. I think you can’t get ahead of yourself. The fourth one is always the hardest one to win. If you look at it, Games 1 and 2 really could have gone either way. We were fortunate to put ourselves in a good position, so we have to regroup and approach it like it’s zero-zero. It’s a big game.’’
And finally, some thoughts from Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar…
BROWN: “It’s hard to really think about anything else today. It’s an off day, so you can kind of maybe think about the big picture. Tomorrow will be an exciting day for everyone. It’s important, as a player, to prepare yourself to get the job done.’’
KOPITAR: “We have to focus and we have to play within the whistles. We can’t get too excited and not look ahead, by any means. We just have to go shift by shift.’’