The first period of last night’s game was clearly not the best 20 minutes of hockey the Kings have played in the postseason. Though Kyle Clifford’s goal late in the period brought them within one, they were out-chanced, allowed a shorthanded goal and allowed a fast team known for its quick starts to generate quality opportunities off the rush.
“Last night certainly wasn’t the start we wanted,” Anze Kopitar said. “The first period was sloppy more often than not. But we’ve done it how many times? We came back and managed to win the game. I think that’s obviously a positive that we did pull it off. But we can’t put ourselves in a hole against a team like that where they keep coming and they have a lot of firepower that can hurt you pretty quick. Definitely want to have better starts in a couple days and we’ll see what happens after that.”
By the middle of the first period, Darryl Sutter’s lines were quite fluid and remained so throughout the game. On Thursday he articulated the in-game adjustments, which stemmed from performances by the team’s top players.
“I think after part way through the first period, once I recognized in a hurry that some of our top guys didn’t have their game – it wasn’t just Mike and Willie. It was a lot of guys,” Sutter said. “I think Jeff played a lot with Kyle and Trevor, and Stolly played with everybody, and basically we were trying to manage Kopi’s game.”
The realignment certainly didn’t hurt the team’s improvement throughout the game. Los Angeles out-shot New York 29-14 from the second period on.
Kyle Clifford, on the line adjustments:
Yeah, it wasn’t the start we wanted. Decided to make line changes. Just went from there. Everybody just went about their game, tried to make it better.
Jeff Carter, on the line adjustments:
Yeah, I mean, I think we started out slow. We didn’t have our legs I think from puck drop. When you get down 2-0, you got to do something to kind of get everybody going. Flip-flopped a little bit there. It started working for us, so we kept going with it.