The Kings don’t yet know exactly when they will be playing again, but at least they know who they will be playing when the time comes. The Western Conference Finals are an all-Pacific Division affair, with the Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes. Each team won three games in the regular season and the Coyotes edged the Kings (and San Jose) for the division title in the final week of the season. The Coyotes, like the Kings, are riding a strong goalie in Mike Smith, and have a deep group of defensemen and some fast forwards. Jonathan Quick today gave his thoughts on what challenges the Coyotes bring…
QUICK: “They’re a quick team. They’ve got a quick team. I was watching their game last night. I feel like they had a lot of speed coming in on the rush. They always get four guys joining the rush. They always have a D jumping up. Guys like Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle, those guys are very skilled defensemen who like jumping up in the rush. They’re playing well. They’re playing with a lot of confidence right now. Mike Smith is playing as well as anyone in the league right now in net. It’s going to be a challenge.’’
The Kings, after their series-ending win over St. Louis on Sunday, are easing back into things. Yesterday was a day off and today, only about half the team was on the ice. Tomorrow, a more normal routine will start. Given the long breaks the Kings have had between games, throughout these playoffs, sitting and waiting is nothing new.
QUICK: “We’re going to do the same thing we did for Van and the same thing we did for St. Louis. We’re going to do as much video as we can, with the time provided, and prepare for them as well as we can. We just have to play.’’
The Kings and Coyotes will essentially have the same amount of rest, given that they clinched their second-round series one day apart. Quick said he wasn’t concerned that the Kings might become stale with all the time off.
QUICK: “No, not at all. That’s not a concern at all. This time of year, not that it’s easy to get geared up, but it comes naturally. You’ve been doing it all year. The days off are great for everybody’s body, to recover and to be as close to 100 percent as possible. … It’s an exciting time of the year. I think the most important thing is trying to take care of your bodies, with the days that we do have, to recover and get ready for the next game.’’