While the New Jersey Devils talked about their confidence, after winning a game in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Kings didn’t outwardly show any signs of doubt, as they went through a spirited practice and talked about trying to improve in all areas, while still giving a nod to the Devils for making this a tighter series than the 3-1 margin might indicate. The Kings aren’t expected to make any lineup changes for Game 5, but will look to be tighter in a number of areas, some of which can be measured statistically (missed shots, giveaways) and others of which can only be seen and judged (defensive gaps, traffic in front of the net). The bottom line is, the Kings have another opportunity to close out the series. Dustin Brown was asked today whether having a second crack at it felt any different than the first…
BROWN: “I guess yes, to answer your question. It’s the same with closing out a series. We had that first opportunity, did kind of move on to the next round (against Vancouver and Phoenix) and relax, pretty excited about it. Not to say that we’re any less excited, but you’re maybe a little more even‑keeled about it, (in) Game 5, for us.’’
Question: Is that just by nature?
BROWN: “Yeah, I think there was a letdown after not sealing the deal in Game 4 with our home crowd. Everyone wakes up the next morning and understands the situation we’re in, not only the opportunity but the responsibility to be better in Game 5.’’
Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick and Darryl Sutter expressed similar sentiments about the Kings’ attitude toward Game 5…
KOPITAR: “We wanted to nail it two days ago. Nothing has changed. The focus and the concentration is still there. Obviously you want to finish it off as quickly as you can. Sometimes it doesn’t go according to plan. We’re just going to have to grind it out tomorrow.’’
QUICK: “Zero-zero. It’s not a matter of coming off a win, coming off a loss. Obviously it’s disappointing anytime you lose, no matter what the situation is. As of yesterday, as of today, it’s 0‑0. You’re trying to win Game 1.‘’
SUTTER: “It’s hard to talk about because sometimes you lose games and you played better than you did when you win games. That’s the way the game is. I think we probably played better in Game 4 than we did in Game 2. So, you know what, (you) move on. … You know what, we haven’t changed. I haven’t seen a big change in our team emotionally for almost two months now. I think we’ve been able to handle different situations. I think they’ve learned, because of the breaks we had before series two and before series three, the breaks they had, they had to learn to get their space, get back to being focused and reloaded. They’ve done a good job of that. You leave it to your veterans, reinforce it with the kids.’’