With a game against the Capitals later in the day, Sutter barked at players on the ice, leading to an increase in intensity. He also reconfigured the lines to reunite the once-productive trio of
Asked what more he needed from the Kopitar line, Sutter replied, "Maybe they've all played as well as they can."
Does he really think so? "We're 50 games in. maybe they are," he said.
Is that an indictment of that trio? "No," Sutter said. "Again, you guys, it's always the same thing. You want the coach to criticize a player and then you say that the coach criticized a player. You know who should do it? You should."
Asked what more he needs from those three, Sutter made a valid point: "They've been really good at home. They haven't been very good on the road." Kopitar has nine goals and 31 points in 28 home games and is +6 defensively, but he has only two goals and seven points in 18 road games and is -12. Gaborik has 10 goals and 19 points and is +3 in 20 home games, but has five goals, eight points and a -2 defensive rating in 16 road games.
"Maybe it's a depth thing," Sutter said. "You shouldn't isolate, I don't think."
He also had a strong response when asked about the Kings' supposed desperation level. "You've got to be careful in pro sports. Desperation is usually when guys slit their own throats. We would prefer not to do that," he said. "I've never been associated with a team that does that. ... We're not saving a country or saving a life. We're playing a game. I don't know what desperation has to do with a hockey game."
Perhaps urgency is a better word. “We’re playing Washington tonight. We’re not playing anybody that’s behind us or ahead of us in our standings. We’re playing the
To win on Tuesday, the Kings will likely have to minimize the impact of Washington winger
"He's a pretty special player, one of the top offensive players in the league, so especially on the power play just be aware of where he is and where he wants to load up that one-timer," Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. "And make sure everybody knows what's going on with him as well.
"He's got a world-class shot. He shoots it better than anybody else in the world. If you can figure out how he does it, I'm sure everybody would do it."
Center Jarret Stoll said the Kings won't change their penalty-killing structure because of Ovechkin, but will be aware and focused when he's on the ice.