Kings are not taking anything for granted
The Kings have waited 44 years to hold a 3-0 lead in a playoff series. Waiting an extra day before they can finish off the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks isn’t bothering them.
Players assembled Monday in El Segundo for a meeting and off-ice workouts, barely 12 hours after recording a 1-0 victory that put them in position to win their first playoff series since 2001. Game 4 isn’t until Wednesday at Staples Center, so only a few players skated. That group did not include winger Kyle Clifford, who suffered an apparent head injury in Game 1.
“I think it’s actually a good thing to have a few days off to regroup, to get our legs back and be able to prepare for the next game,” defenseman Drew Doughty said. “We can’t be sitting back or relaxing or anything like that.
“These next two days we’ve got to make sure we’re pushing harder to watch more video, prepare better and work hard in practice and fix some things that we haven’t been doing right.”
The Kings must also prepare to face winger Daniel Sedin, who sat out the first three games because of a concussion. Sedin, who led Vancouver with 30 goals this season, was cleared to practice with his teammates and was to fly to Los Angeles on Monday. However, he will need medical clearance before he can play.
Sedin, the NHL’s 2011 scoring champion, practiced early last week but reportedly suffered headaches afterward and had to pull back. The Canucks have missed his creativity and finishing skills: They’ve scored four goals in this series, as many as Dustin Brown has scored for the Kings.
Coach Alain Vigneault smiled when he was asked what Sedin’s return would mean.
“He’s our top scorer. Is that a good answer?” Vigneault said. “I mean, obviously right now because Danny’s not there we’ve got a few guys playing out of roles, out of their best possible position to help out this team. That’s nothing new. You go through that in a regular season.
“Obviously, right now with the level of competition we’re up against, the situation that we’re faced with, for him to be back in our lineup would obviously be a big boost.”
Vigneault wouldn’t say whether he will start Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider in goal in Game 4. He started Luongo in the first two games but switched to Schneider on Sunday in hopes of jolting his team. Schneider played well and wasn’t the reason the Canucks slipped within a loss of elimination.
“It’s a result-driven business and we’re not scoring,” Vigneault said. “Our goaltenders, both of them, have given us in all three games a chance to win. We need to score goals and we’re not doing that right now.
“You’ve got to give L.A. a lot of credit. When there have been some mistakes at our end, they’ve made us pay. When we’ve made them [make] mistakes, we haven’t been able to make them pay.”
Funny side of Darryl Sutter
And yes, he has one.
The Kings’ coach was asked whether he had seen a replay of the crunching but clean hit Brown delivered on Henrik Sedin on Sunday, a check that energized both teams.
“I saw it live and in Technicolor,” Sutter said. “It looks good in both.”
Sutter also said the hostility and ugly hits in other playoff series — especially the Pittsburgh Penguins-Philadelphia Flyers matchup — are no worse than what he experienced during an NHL career that ran from 1979-80 through 1986-87. What’s different now, he said, is there is more media coverage, so these incidents are more widely seen.
“It’s a lot less,” he said. “There’s less of that type of player, maybe. ... It was a totally different game. There was a lot more that went on after the whistles and in warmups and during the play. There was a lot more of that.”
The Kings can become the 10th No. 8-seeded team to upset a No. 1 since the current playoff format debuted in 1994. ... Only three NHL teams have overcome 0-3 deficits to win a best-of-seven playoff series: the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs against the Detroit Red Wings, the 1975 New York Islanders against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers against the Boston Bruins.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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