Saturday’s game was a painful victory for Kings center Michal Handzus. He was credited with two blocked shots, but there had to be a handful of other blocks/deflections that Handzus managed to play through in a gritty effort. Handzus also got credit, from Terry Murray, for smashing Tampa Bay’s Steve Downie after Downie had delivered a hit to Wayne Simmonds in the first period. Here’s what Handzus said this morning about Saturday’s game and tonight’s game…
Question: How tough was that last game on you, physically?
HANDZUS: “Sometimes there are games when everything hits you. It was good that we won. … It was pretty physical. There were a lot of battles and a lot of stuff along the boards. I thought it was an exciting game for us. On the bench, you could sense that everybody was battling for each other.”
Question: Things like the hit on Downie, are you looking out, in advance, for that sort of thing, or is it just an instant reaction?
HANDZUS: “I think it just happens. It was the first period, the first 10 minutes, and you’ve got to set a tone a little bit. Obviously we were in the other team’s building, so you don’t want to get pushed around. A lot of other times, Simmer and other guys step up for me, so I have to do it for other guys too. If the time is right, there is no way you can hold back.”
Question: How important is it, mentally, to finish the trip well tonight?
HANDZUS: “It’s a huge game for us. We are 2-2 on the trip, so if we could get one more win and get over .500, it would be good for us, especially with two games that we didn’t play well. If we can finish it over .500, that would be great. We just have to play it like the last game, be tough and really strong and play our system.”