Darryl Sutter has weighed in on the series’ officiating in the last two days, and it has been covered extensively on this site and in other publications. While the team may be upset over several calls (or an absence of calls) that could’ve been levied in their favor, Sutter’s criticisms fill two purposes: They may influence judgements in their favor heading forward – perhaps in key, late-game moments – and they take the spotlight off the team’s predicament while placing it squarely on himself.
With that being said, the Kings must stay out of the penalty box in Game 5 after having totaled 18 shorthanded situations through the first four games, including a two-minute five-on-three situation in Game 2. On Friday, players spoke about the fine line between playing emotionally while also avoiding penalty killing situations.
Drew Doughty, on playing with emotion while avoiding penalties:
It shouldn’t be tough as long as we do it between the whistles. We should have no problems taking penalties. A lot of our penalties have been after the whistles and scrums and stuff like that, which we don’t need and if we’re playing physical, playing good defensive hockey and doing everything we can to not let them be in our zone and get shots on our goalie. We can play them between the rules with emotion.
Doughty, on the Kings’ penalty woes and the Sharks’ power play:
Penalty trouble’s been probably our biggest problem this whole series. We’ve taken a lot of dumb penalties, penalties after the whistles that they’ve capitalized on and that’s why they’re winning. Their power play’s on of the best parts of their team. They’ve been together for a long time and they have all their little plays they do, which are tough to make plays for us against and when you’re taking stupid penalties it always seems to end up in your net after.
Milan Lucic, on playing with emotion without taking penalties:
It’s a fine line because you try to play with emotion and all that type of stuff and you want to play with emotions but at the same time you don’t want to hurt your team. Unfortunately, if you look out throughout the series, penalties have kind of hurt our team, so going into tonight discipline has to be the main thing and getting the win is all that matters. You can’t really overthink things. You can’t play with being overanxious or overexcited or let the emotions get the better of you. You just got to go out there, do what you can to help your team win because that’s the most important thing and only thing that matters going into tonight’s game.
Lucic, on the officials and “playing the game the right way”:
At the end of the day they’re going to do and call what they’re going to call. You try to make them a non-factor and just go out there and play your game. Regardless of who the officials are or what they’re going to call, you’ve got to focus on what’s important and that’s the game plan and control the things that you can control. [Reporter: Does experience help in finding where the line is?] Yeah, for sure. Like I said, just being disciplined and not taking stupid penalties that are going to hurt your team. You’ve got to play today with desperation and our back’s against the wall and in the past and even throughout the season we’ve played our best hockey when our back’s against the wall and we need that desperation here tonight.
Kopitar, on staying out of the box while still playing with emotion:
You’ve got to play desperate, with a lot of emotion. At the same time, obviously, not cross the line and play them 5-on-5.