Well, this should be an interesting game. It’s not too often that a team loses 7-0 and plays the next night, so it’s hard to predict how things will go for the Kings tonight. They could come out with a lot of fire, or be too tense and lay another egg.
It’s funny how things work out though. The Kings’ worst shutout loss last season was a 5-0 loss at Buffalo on Dec. 19. Jason LaBarbera started that game — which turned out to be his last game with the Kings — and was replaced in the third period by…Jonathan Quick, in his season debut. Quick allowed one goal on eight shots, then played the next night in Detroit and stopped 30 of 35 in a 6-4 loss to Detroit.
Anyway, the Kings didn’t seem too “down” this morning. A group of players kicked around the soccer ball, as usual, and Ryan Smyth, who has seen plenty of bad losses in his time, said there was no reason to panic.
SMYTH: “The sun came up. It’s a nice day out here, and we’ve got to carry forth. We can’t dwell on it. We’ve got to look past it and look at the opportunity we have tonight. … Obviously we have to erase what we were doing yesterday, and that goes for everybody, right from the goaltenders to the D to all the forwards. We know that, and we’ve got to respond. The best thing is, we play tonight, and we don’t dwell on the loss even longer. We can redeem ourselves here in Tampa.”
Question: Do you have any sense of how that game got away from you so quickly?
SMYTH: “Sometimes things happen like that. There’s no question we made a lot of mistakes that cost us and ended up in our net, 5-on-5, PK, special teams, power play. That’s very important in today’s game, special teams, and we weren’t, by any means, at the top of our game when it comes to special teams. We’ve got to give them credit for being in the right position, but by no means were we at the top of our game.”
Here’s what Terry Murray said about going forward to Tampa Bay, first in response to my question about whether players should use the Atlanta game as motivation or try to put it out of their minds as quickly as possible.
MURRAY: “You never put it out of your mind. You can never do that as a pro athlete. You always have to remember what happened and make changes, dig in, use it as motivation, get upset, get pissed off.”
Question: Based on what you’ve seen since the game ended, is that type of attitude there?
MURRAY: “The read is always in the next game. If you’re able to get on the ice and have a practice, you can probably have a pretty good read on players emotionally, and their feelings. We had meetings today, and you could definitely see that there was a higher level of concentration and focus. That’s the start of the preparation for the game tonight. I think we’re heading in the right direction.
“No one feels good about it. No one accepts a loss, especially when you outshot and outplayed your opponent. Our chances were almost 2-to-1 in quality chances, so it’s not like you blow it up and put it back together again. There’s attention that’s needed to certain areas of the game, and you’ve got to go back and play again tonight.”