Well, here they are again. For the fourth time in four series in these playoffs, the Kings have a 3-0 series lead and a chance to close things out at home. So far, in this situation, the Kings have a 1-2 record. Against the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, the Kings scored the game’s first goal but then allowed two second-period goals and lost 3-1. In the second round against the St. Louis Blues, the Kings led 1-0, then took a 2-1 lead late in the first period on Dustin Brown’s goal. That’s where the game stay until Brown clinched it with a late-empty net goal. In the Western Conference Finals, the Phoenix Coyotes got a first-period goal and a second-period goal and won 2-0.
It should go without saying, but sweeping a team isn’t easy. In 14 previous series in this postseason, there was only one sweep, and that was the Kings over the Blues. The Kings, no doubt, will go into Game 4 tonight expecting the best effort of the series from the New Jersey Devils, and will need to match it. Mike Richards is well aware of the challenge that the Kings face…
RICHARDS: “We haven’t been very good in these situations. We’re 1‑2 when we’re up in this situation. It’s something we have to improve on, obviously. We still know that we can play better and be better. We’re going to have to be because they’re going to bring it all.’’
If they put pucks on the ice for a big hockey game, Richards has been there. He has played in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Olympic gold-medal game, the World Junior Championships, the Memorial Cup, the Calder Cup (AHL) playoffs and the IIHF World Championships. Based on all of those experiences, Richards knows that managing emotions will be important for the Kings.
RICHARDS: “it’s a situation where I think you have to try to enjoy. You’re probably going to be a little bit nervous at the same time. You just have to enjoy the process. We know how tough of a game it’s going to be, what’s ahead of us. At the same time we have to be ready for it and not make mistakes just because we’re nervous.’’