It’s often said that a team can take on the personality of its head coach. If the Kings can channel Darryl Sutter for one day, they might be in good shape. Yesterday, just a few hours after a tough Game 5 loss, Sutter sat behind a desk in El Segundo and said, “If we play as well as we did last night, I like our team.’’ It didn’t sound contrived or forced. The Kings lost Game 5, but they had an outstanding first period, other than a borderline penalty and a puckhandling gaffe. As Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty said, the Kings’ focus on Game 6 should be on duplicating the first-period effort from Saturday, and maintaining it.
BROWN: “You look at the games on video and you realize that we played a pretty good first period. We had some good chances, and they get kind of a break on a goal, with Quickie mishandling it and Parise making a pretty good play on it. I think it reassures us that our game plan is the right one, and that we need to stick with it. I think we got away from it as the game went along.’’
DOUGHTY: “We’re just excited to get this next game going. They had a lot of momentum in their rink there, with the fans on their side and whatnot, and we easily could have taken it from them there. They played well and they got some good bounces on the goals, so we’re not discouraged at all.’’
That said, the Kings can’t get overconfident. They did lose the game, and they certainly know they didn’t play a perfect game in Game 5. Anze Kopitar was asked about improvements the Kings will try to make for Game 6.
KOPITAR: “Maybe just stay a little more consistent. I thought we had a pretty good first period last night, but then we got away from it a little bit. It’s probably the case, when you do go down, that you try to do a little extra stuff, and you go away from your program. So, just stay in your program and play 60 minutes, or more than that if we need to.’’