The irrepressible and hugely talented Drew Doughty was lamenting his ice time — not so much a complaint, but an honest desire to play more — following Game 2 of the Kings’ first-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks.
In fact, the defenseman said he could play 40 minutes, if necessary.
Request (almost) granted.
An unusual set of circumstances combined to send Doughty’s ice time soaring in the opening game of the historic hockey Freeway Series between the Kings and Ducks on Saturday night at Honda Center in Anaheim.
Doughty logged more than 33 minutes of ice time in the Kings’ 3-2 overtime victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal because they were forced to drop to five defensemen for the last two periods and overtime after Robyn Regehr was injured in the first.
“Everyone probably played over 20 minutes,” Doughty said. “I think all the D [defense] kind of liked that. With five D, if you ask every single one of the defensemen today, they like that better.
“Everyone is into the game. Everyone is PK-ing [penalty-killing]. Some guys were playing on their wrong side. You’re just into the game. You don’t have to think too much, ‘Am I going to be up or not?’ It’s just rolling the lines [too], flowing it out. I thought we did a really good job.”
Doughty was right. The remaining Kings defensemen all played in excess of 20 minutes, including Matt Greene, who played in only two games of the San Jose series. Greene logged a shade over 20 minutes, Slava Voynov 31:08, Alec Martinez 28:13 and Jake Muzzin 26:26.
Not that the Kings were fresh coming into Saturday’s extended battle. Their seven-game epic against the Sharks ended Wednesday night and their defense corps already was depleted because veteran Willie Mitchell, injured in Game 6 of the San Jose series, will likely be unavailable for the early portion of the second round.
Again, Doughty downplayed the hardships.
“We’re just ready to go,” he said. “We wanted to get going. The good thing about not winning the series four games straight, or anything, was that we didn’t have much time to reset and think about anything.”
The defense definitely contributed Saturday. Martinez scored the game’s first goal on a first-period power play, and Doughty had an assist on Marian Gaborik’s game-winner in overtime.
The defensive play of the game was made by Martinez less than two minutes into overtime. Ducks star Corey Perry had an open net and Martinez blocked the shot.
“It was kind of a scramble in front,” Martinez said. “I noticed [goalie Jonathan Quick] had just made the save prior and so he was trying to get over. I just tried to go down and get in front of the shot. Probably a little bit of luck too.”
Doughty didn’t know it was Martinez who came up with the game-saving save. One TV commentator called it a ball-hockey save.
“It was him that blocked it?” Doughty said. “That’s huge because Quickie was out. He wouldn’t have made the save, so good recognition by Marty to go down and be desperate and do whatever it takes.”