The Kings did not take the ice at Toyota Sports Center on Wednesday, opting instead for meetings, video, treatment and off-ice workouts in advance of the conclusion of a four-games-in-six-nights stretch when the New York Rangers visit on Thursday night.
Both Darryl Sutter and Dustin Brown spoke with media today – several of Brown’s observations will be shared shortly – about the pace of play in the wins over Chicago and Dallas and aspects of the team’s performance that stood out during the two-game road trip.
On what stood out on the road trip:
It’s easier on the road when you score the first goal. Obviously against teams, especially last night, that was the highest scoring team in the league. Last night, compared to the night before, was more five-on-five play.
On the team sustaining a strong pace of play, especially early, Tuesday night:
Back-to-back situations, most teams do. They’re right back at it again. If you look at it, the guys are well trained. If your travel – that was the tough part last night, it was the travel. The travel getting in from Chicago to Dallas, it’s hard on players, especially when you’re coming off the two games prior to that were both overtime games also, so guys who played a lot of minutes get more minutes, if you look at Washington and New Jersey. Hard on our team. Give our players – hey, they’re resilient. We play the same way every night, and we’ve done it all year. It doesn’t matter who it’s against. Sometimes we don’t score enough, and sometimes there’s little things that make a difference, but our team shows up.
On maintaining pace and the team’s style of play through the entire game:
I think when teams get down in a game two or three goals, teams have to change how they play. It comes with an individual game. They’re no different, we’re no different. You get down, and you have to play a different style, and there are times where then it becomes frustrating. Most games are low scoring enough and close enough in scoring that the top teams are not used to being up or down- [Reporter: Three or four.]. That’s the way the league is.
On whether being ahead by several goals early changes the opposition’s systems:
I don’t think early at all. I think even looking at the Chicago game, we had the lead, but the momentum was not a factor, and I don’t think that matters. That’s like saying that we were down a couple or up a couple that it changes. It doesn’t. What it reinforces, hey, when you go down the stretch, the league has changed a lot in terms of the way the game’s played in the last couple months of the season, and as you’re going down the stretch, it’s not for the faint of heart, and not that long ago you could see the difference. Now, everybody’s the same going down the stretch. It’s the big difference in the game. There’s no nights off. There’s guys, young players that have a lot of energy fighting for jobs on every team, that’s a big difference from what we’ve seen in the past, and teams are so close. It’s so competitive. I think you’ve got to put the whole 60 in to win games.