Jun 5, 2014, 12:32 AM EDT
LOS ANGELES — You didn’t have to tell the Los Angeles Kings they started the Stanley Cup Final badly. They knew it. And they don’t plan to do it again.
“Obviously not the way we drew it up,” said forward Mike Richards, talking about the 2-0 deficit his team fell into early versus the New York Rangers, despite ultimately fighting back to earn a 3-2 overtime victory.
“Didn’t have our ‘A’ game today, but we battled. We got a couple of bounces and ended up getting the win. We know we have to be better. … We probably got a little lucky tonight.”
Falling behind and battling back has become a theme for the Kings in these playoffs, and all sorts of theories were floating around trying to explain their sloppy start to Game 1 of the Cup final, which came on home ice in front of a supportive Staples Center crowd.
Were they still thinking about the Chicago Blackhawks? Did they underestimate the underdog Rangers? Maybe they just enjoy playing with fire?
“The game of hockey, you’re not going to have your legs every single night,” shrugged Richards. “Just chalk it up to one of those days I guess.”
But coach Darryl Sutter had another theory.
“I think [the Rangers] had a lot of energy and were fresh,” he said. “If you look at their playoffs in the first periods, they’ve had really good first periods every game. You look at it, not I think, I know, that we were not on full tanks.”
And Sutter was none too pleased with all the chances his team gave up, including the breakaway that his best defenseman, Drew Doughty, served up in the first period to New York’s Benoit Pouliot, who promptly opened the scoring.
“You don’t want to trade chances with the New York Rangers,” said Sutter. “I said it yesterday and I’ve said it every day. If you have to score more than three goals, you’re going to have trouble. If you trade chances, in the end you’re going to have trouble.”
Meanwhile, Sutter’s counterpart, Alain Vigneault, was left perplexed at how his team could start so well, then fade away and get outshot 20-3 in the third period.
Did Vigneault feel the Rangers let the Kings off the hook?
“I feel when you play against such a good opponent that has all that strength you need to play a full game,” said Vigneault. “For whatever reason tonight, we just weren’t good enough in the third.”
For New York forward Brad Richards, it was a bad news-good news thing. Yes, the loss was disappointing, but “at the same time, we can play with them, too.”
A two-day break before Saturday’s Game 2 gives both teams time to regroup, look at some video, and figure out what needs to be fixed.
“It’s a great result of the hockey game for us, definitely,” said overtime hero Justin Williams. “But we have a lot of things to clean up. Certainly not our best game by any standards. Especially ours.”
Sep 17, 2014, 3:44 PM EDT
The plot thickens.
Sep 17, 2014, 3:09 PM EDT
“No matter how much my old teammates say it doesn’t bother them, it affects them. It does in that city.”
Sep 17, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT
And on the possibility of his client signing an offer sheet? “Well, we’ll have to see.”
Sep 17, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT
“Justin has emerged as one of our most well-rounded and dependable defensemen.”
Sep 17, 2014, 1:34 PM EDT
“We’ve been told if we don’t give them what they want, they’ll be leaving town.”
Sep 17, 2014, 1:05 PM EDT
Veteran d-man just turned 40 years old.
Sep 17, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT
Sep 17, 2014, 12:21 PM EDT
“That is significantly good to hear.”
Sep 17, 2014, 12:07 PM EDT
“I’ve been with the team for eight years, and I don’t know if I’ve been more disappointed about anything that’s been written,” said Pierre Dorion.
Sep 17, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT
Enter Radim Vrbata.
Sep 17, 2014, 11:41 AM EDT
“I actually thought I had a great year up to the Olympic break and even after.”
Sep 17, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT
“The tenor of the talks has been good, so we’ll keep going and keep working on it.”
Sep 17, 2014, 10:38 AM EDT
Yet he says his contract status won’t be an issue this season.
Sep 17, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
The Blues acquired him from Toronto.
Sep 17, 2014, 9:02 AM EDT
Those prospects could get longer looks if Ryan Johansen misses the preseason.
Sep 17, 2014, 7:56 AM EDT
Wednesday’s collection of links.
Sep 16, 2014, 10:39 PM EDT
“It’s extortion is what it is. I don’t make this stuff up.”
Sep 16, 2014, 9:22 PM EDT
Caps blueliner has had bad luck in the health department.
Sep 16, 2014, 8:21 PM EDT
Florida’s youngsters stole the show overall.
Sep 16, 2014, 7:18 PM EDT
And he’ll reportedly miss part of Minnesota’s training camp.
- Report: Wild’s Harding likely out months, not weeks 0
- Kesler accuses Vancouver media of making up stories, ‘throwing people under the bus’ 9
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal 38
- Mike Yeo is pretty unhappy with Minnesota’s goalie situation 17
- Much to his relief, Lecavalier will start season at center 7
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands 59
- Advantage Kuemper? Harding on crutches after ankle injury 15
- Done deal, finally: Wings ink DeKeyser to two-year, $4.375M extension 11
- Update: NHL wants to see fine system in action before publicizing diving 5
- Get your odds to make the playoffs for all 30 NHL teams 18
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands (60)
- Chiarelli: At some point, I’m going to have to trade a defenseman (54)
- Will the NHL publicize divers? (48)
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal (46)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)