Nic Dowd returned to the Los Angeles Kings’ lineup on Thursday night and was among those whose dividends led the club to a 4-1 road win. The center, who had been scratched the previous two games, scored the game-winning goal by converting his own rebound of a Dustin Brown netfront feed late in the second period.
With three goals and 12 points in 25 games, Dowd has been among those who have provided secondary scoring on a team that ranks 15th in the league with an average of 2.66 goals per game. But after scoring on the power play and in three-on-three overtime against Pittsburgh, his goal last night was his first five-on-five goal of the season. He spoke with LA Kings Insider on Thursday about coming out of the lineup – as Darryl Sutter had indicated to reporters, it was derived from being a minus player in five out of six games – and how the Kings will look to counter a streaking Penguins team with elite offensive ability and a red hot goaltender in Matt Murray.
Nic Dowd, on what he’ll need to do to limit Pittsburgh defensively:
I just think, I guess as a centerman specifically, winning faceoffs will be big. You get possession of the puck and in the NHL it makes a big difference, it can make or break your whole shift so keep the puck out of their hands and make them play defense, probably our best way.
Dowd, on what he noticed about the Penguins after facing them in November:
They’re a speed team. A lot of speed, a lot of skill, and a possession team too. And their defenseman can skate. You know, once you get a body on them you’ve got to keep them there and you’ve got to be the first one off the wall because they will beat you up the ice.
Dowd, on the Penguins’ ability to forecheck and play with structure:
Yeah I mean, I guess just what I remember is like I said, they have a lot speed, so they have the ability to have a couple guys down low, that third guy is high and puts pressure and then those other guys are reloading above the puck, and if you don’t make a good play to get out of the zone then it’s right back in your corner and you get hemmed in down there.
Dowd, on getting back into the lineup and onoto the score sheet:
Well, it was good. I think when you’re out, it’s obviously really frustrating, and I think players have a right to feel that way. You’re upset and you want to play, and I think the biggest thing is it’s tough to be out, you want to contribute and help the team win, so it was good to get back in last night.
Dowd, on what he was told when he was taken out of the lineup:
I mean, you can look at a bunch of different things but we were just giving up too many chances in our own zone and pucks were going to the back of the net, so stuff’s got to get cleaned up. Can’t be a liability.
Dowd, on whether his line addressed that defensive challenge against Detroit:
Well, I think a lot of it starts with the breakouts and through the neutral zone. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time in our zone last night across the board. Just our line specifically, I think, we did a good job getting up ice and then playing in the O-zone which is the best defense, if they don’t have the puck.