NEED FOR THREE
The Kings outshot the Ducks 186-114 in the regular season series and lost four of five games. The Ducks have outshot the Kings 72-53 through the first two games of the second round, and here we are, talking about a two-nothing Los Angeles series lead.
In Game 3, the Kings will vie to come out on top of both the possession time and the goals scored. But how?
“Their forecheck is really good, so we have to be better as defensemen with the puck,” Drew Doughty said. “Our forwards have to be better at getting back and getting open for us. If we get to that puck first, it should be just a couple quick plays and we’re out of the zone. That’s the thing where we’ve probably struggled the most. If we’re able to do that, we can spend some time in their zone. Get the cycle going, get pucks to the net, crash the net hard and that will create more goals and more possession time.”
It’s the fifth time in the last three postseasons that the Kings have returned to Staples Center holding a two-nothing series lead. In the four previous home Game 3s – all from the 2012 Stanley Cup run – they were able to weather the inevitable push back in establishing a commanding three-nothing series lead.
“A playoff series, it gets more amped up the more games you play against another and little battles develop. Certainly that’s started already,” Justin Williams said. “Anaheim is an extremely tough team. They showed it through the regular season. They don’t lose two in a row very often. When they do, they come back hard. We’re anticipating a strong push from them, but we have to push back.”
Ducks at work this morning at Staples. pic.twitter.com/2yvJgR5gwr
— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) May 8, 2014
LINE ‘EM UP
The Ducks are expected to make several lineup changes. Defenseman Sami Vatanen, who had six goals and 21 points in 48 games, was recalled from AHL-Norfolk and may replace Mark Fistric. Emerson Etem was assigned to Norfolk, and it’s likely that Kyle Palmieri, who had 14 goals and 31 points but was a healthy scratch in Games 1 and 2, will fill his spot in the lineup.
“Their lineup is deep. They’ve got good players on every single line,” Doughty said. “They’ve got guys who can work hard and bang and crash, but at the same time put pucks in the net and have a little skill. They’re not easy to play against and if we put too much emphasis on that top line, we might forget about those and then they take over the game. So we have to make sure we’re doing the exact same things to every single line.”
Los Angeles is expected to roll with the same lineup that was used in Game 2. All healthy players except for Marian Gaborik participated in the morning skate, though because Jordan Nolan filled in on his line to the left of Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, and because his locker stall had been set up at Staples Center, his absence was likely due to an extra morning of rest.
Bruce Boudreau on Kyle Palmieri, who is expected to draw in tonight: "His shot is as good as anybody’s"
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) May 8, 2014
The series’ physicality has tilted in the Ducks’ favor for the first two games. Though Anaheim has held a possession advantage, they’ve also out-hit the Kings 107-83, according to the official game sheets. Holding an advantage in both possession and hits are indications of an effective forecheck, the second one the Kings have faced in as many rounds.
“It’s about the same…big, skilled guys,” Jake Muzzin said in comparing Anaheim’s forecheck to San Jose’s. “Both teams like to get on the forecheck and turn over pucks in our zone. It’s pretty much the same. You’re going to get hit no matter what, so get ready for it.”
Don’t confuse with forechecking and physicality with some of the nastiness that rose to the surface in Game 2. There have been episodes of slashes and hits away from the officials’ glance – something completely not out of the ordinary with playoff hockey – though there may not be quite as many post-whistle scrums and gatherings.
“The nastiness is there,” Muzzin said. “Maybe it’s a little bit between whistles. It’s coming. I’m sure it is. It’s only two games, so we’ll see what happens tonight.”
Two locker rooms, two different interpretations of Ryan Getzlaf’s effectiveness against Los Angeles.
After Game 2, it was Bruce Boudreau stating that he moved Ryan Getzlaf’s line away from Anze Kopitar’s line because the Kopitar line was “dominating” them.
Is that something you would you agree with, Darryl Sutter?
“No, we haven’t played very well against Ryan Getzlaf, quite honest, and I’m not saying it because we play ‘em again tonight,” Sutter said. “Ryan Getzlaf in this series has outplayed us. He’s been out on every goal they scored, and he’s had the puck a lot, and we have to be able to do a better job against Ryan Getzlaf, for sure.”
In two games, Getzlaf has three assists, so the production appears to me in lockstep with Getzlaf’s strong offensive zone possession.
“Everyone is saying they’re so affected offensively, but I’m pretty sure Getzlaf has a point on every one of their goals or something like that,” Doughty said. “I don’t really think he’s been affected offensively. I think we can do a better job with him. I thought we did a good job against their bottom three lines last game, but I think we can be better against Getzlaf’s line. I thought they actually played really well last game. I don’t know why people think they didn’t, for whatever reason.”
While the line as a whole has accounted for much of Anaheim’s limited offense through the first two games, it’s Corey Perry that hasn’t been as productive. Of course, a certain Alec Martinez kick save had an impact on keeping the former Hart Trophy winner off the scoresheets.
“Time and space on those skilled guys, and being physical on them,” Muzzin said of the team’s efforts in limiting Perry. “Try to limit their chances. They’re going to get some opportunities, but if we keep ‘em to the outside and make those chances not as [much of] Grade-A scoring chances as we’d like to get them, we’re going to be OK. So we’ve just got to continue with that.”
Perry is obviously most productive when he’s contributing a heavy portion of his team’s offense, but he also has other qualities that can affect how the opposition plays. His ability to agitate his opponents is well documented.
“I don’t know about his words, I don’t think those affect anyone,” Doughty said. “Part of his game is getting under peoples’ skin. I think he kind of plays with his heart on his sleeve. He just goes out there and does anything he possibly can to win a game. That’s what you want out of your top players for sure, but we know he’s doing that so we’re not going to let it affect us.”
Boudreau on Kings D play: "It’s not a very easy house to crack. They know how to protect it."
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) May 8, 2014