Terry Murray declined to say what lineup changes he would be making tonight, but it would be a surprise to me if Sean O’Donnell wasn’t back in the lineup. O’Donnell, who had played 82 games in each of the previous two seasons, has been a healthy scratch in the last two games in favor of Randy Jones. This is a big game, and it can’t hurt the Kings to have their most veteran player in the lineup.
This morning, I asked O’Donnell about his reaction to being a healthy scratch.
O’DONNELL: “Disappointment. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to play every game. At the same time, coaches just don’t do things. Terry has been around for a long time, and Terry is a smart coach. They just don’t do things for no reason at all. Sometimes, as a player, you maybe don’t see the big picture sometimes. Terry explained some things to me. I understood it. I didn’t like it, but I understood it. This is an 82-game schedule, and you can’t get too upset over a game or two. There’s not much you can do about it. You do what you can, you cheer for the team and you just hope that your chance comes and you get back in there.”
Also, since O’Donnell had a good view of the game — and I don’t mean that sarcastically, since the Atlanta press box really does offer a great view — I asked him for his thoughts on the way the game developed.
O’DONNELL: “From what I saw, from up top, it was a pretty good first period. I thought both goalies made some really good saves to keep it at zero, and then it seemed like we would be cycling down low, or we would have good pressure on them, and then, boom. One went off the skate and they had a breakaway, and then another breakaway. It just seemed like it was 4-0 like that. Maybe our focus wasn’t 100 or we had a couple of lapses to allow those things, but it wasn’t like they had sustained pressure. When they scored, it was like, `How did this happen?’ It was 4-0 quickly. It was kind of a funny game. You look at 7-0 and you’d think we got dominated, but I don’t think we did. We just made a couple mistakes here and there, a couple bounces their way, and that’s what happened.”