Muzzin: “I’ve got to get better”; Clifford reviews last night

Jake Muzzin wasn’t happy with his performance last night, saying that it was “not good enough, really.”

“First game back I thought I did well, and then kind of let off a little,” he said. “We played a fast scoring team last night that I didn’t prepare properly for. So, I’ve got to get better and I’ve got to be better for the guys.”

Muzzin, who looked fine without the puck and appeared to be of assistance limiting the space of a strong attacking team in the Kings’ defending end, was a minus-two in the 3-2 overtime loss. On the ice for the game-winning goal against, Brayden Schenn intercepted his offensive zone pass and raced in alone on a breakaway to set in motion the events that led to Philadelphia’s controversial win.

As he noted, his shortcomings were “all preparation.”

“I wasn’t good enough getting ready and it’s on my own that I have to do a little better getting ready for the guys,” he said.

Of course, preparation can be a challenge when you miss a three-week bridge between the preseason and regular season with a frustrating upper-body injury.

“You go from not playing any games and it’s been a long time, and then getting into the fast teams and playing skill teams like last night. The top line and stuff like that, just getting mentally ready for that.”

On the Pittsburgh Penguins, another strong offensive team, Muzzin said: “Same kind of team I’ve got to do a better job of getting ready for.”

* * * * *

Kyle Clifford enjoyed one of the more impressive regular season games of his career against Philadelphia, finishing with an assist and a career-high 16:18 of ice time. Like many of his teammates, however, his personal accomplishments come secondary to team goals, and he wasn’t especially eager to speak on his own behalf a day after the overtime loss.

“I think we got off to a slow start there,” he said. “I think it’s important for us going into to tomorrow’s game to have a better start.”

Given that he and Justin Williams were the club’s top possession-driving forwards in the loss, he did speak on his line’s ability to generate quality chances – especially over the final 40 minutes.

“I think after the first period we got going a little more,” he said. “Playing with a guy like Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll, they’re vocal guys on the ice. You know where they are at all times. It feels like you have an extra guy out there, almost.”

Kyle Clifford, on whether Pittsburgh plays a similar style as Philadelphia:
Yeah, definitely. If you look down their lineup, they’ve got some similarities. But again, it’s a different night, a different test, and we just have to be ready for it.

Clifford, on whether he want to continue playing with Stoll and Williams:
Yeah, you definitely want to push our game forward I think. We can do a little more in terms of our start and just come out with a bigger bang tomorrow.


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