A year older…and wiser?

The Kings didn’t win last season’s first-round playoff series against Vancouver, but they did acquire something valuable: experience. Top players such as Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson and Wayne Simmonds (and the currently injured Anze Kopitar) were able to experience playoff NHL hockey for the first time. Now, there should be fewer surprises the second time around, in this first-round series against San Jose. Among the 21 players who are likely to suit up for the King — including Justin Williams and backup goalie Jonathan Bernier — there are five playoff rookies: Bernier, Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez and Kevin Westgarth. Terry Murray talked about how last season’s playoff experience might help some of his young players this time around…

MURRAY: “I think having gone through the playoffs last year is huge. You can have meetings and talk about it, as a coach to your team, and explain what it is you’re going to see and what you’re going to feel, but you have to go through it. It was a great experience last year, against one of the premier teams. You go to six games, you know how close it was. One play makes a difference in the outcome of the game. Now you have that understanding. It’s the same kind of scenario here today, with San Jose. They’re a team that’s been on the cusp for the past four or five years. You’ve got to play the game hard, play it the right way, and every play is really going to be important.”

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