Sunday, May 20, 2012
Notebook: Kings-Coyotes Game 4
By Pierre LeBrun
LOS ANGELES -- The silver lining of losing Game 4 at home when you have a chance to wrap up a berth in the Stanley Cup finals? The Los Angeles Kings carry their perfect 7-0 road record into Tuesday night’s game at Phoenix.
"You've got to win four games," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "Do I like going back on the road tomorrow? No, absolutely not. But that's the way it works. That's why it's four out of seven.
"Did we think as not-a-home-ice team we weren't ever going to lose a game? No, it's that simple."
Comeback kids?The Coyotes can dream, right? If the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers can erase a 3-0 series deficit, why not them?
"We recognize we put ourselves in a tough position," said Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who scored twice Sunday. "We also know it has been done. I guess that's what sports are all about, trying to do something that someone hasn't done for a while, try to do things that the odds are kind of stacked against you. Nobody wants to be in the position we're in, but everybody wants to prove they can kind of answer that call.
"We got an unbelievable group of guys in our room. It sounds cliche-ish, every team that reaches this point says the same thing about their guys, but I really think our guys are special. We got just a good group and I like it."
Desperate hockeyAsked whether he felt his team played desperate hockey Sunday, standout Coyotes netminder Mike Smith couldn’t help but laugh.
"I think we played desperate since January," he said with a chuckle. "But that goes without saying. We were down 3-0 going into this game. If there's any point in the season when you're desperate, I think knowing you can go home if you lose this game, I think that's where desperation sets in. We didn't panic. I think that was a big part of why we played so well. We made plays tonight. We got pucks behind their D. Like Doaner was saying, we got some second opportunities in front of Quick. We did the little things it takes to beat a team like that.
"We have to worry about the next game. If we want to win that one, we have to play as good as we did tonight or maybe a little bit better."
Kings power play
The Kings’ woeful power play continued its ways Sunday, going 0-for-6 in Game 4 to total 6-for-70 in the playoffs (8.6 percent).
In fact, when you consider their two power-play goals in Game 2 at Phoenix were scored 5-on-3, you have to go back to Game 3 of the second round against St. Louis to find the Kings’ last 5-on-4 goal.
Yes, I know, the Bruins won the Cup last spring with a brutal power play. But that doesn’t make it a good thing to have a power play this ineffective.
"Tonight the power play ... we had looks up top, we took too much time,” Sutter said. "We basically never really looked at it, but I'm going to bet that Gordon, Vermette and probably Pyatt blocked more shots, pucks just hitting them in the pads. Quite honestly, that's poor shooting on our part from up top from guys that are supposed to take that shot."
Mike Smith stopped 36 shots for his third shutout of the playoffs.
"You know what, it's funny, every game, when we need a big game from Smitty, he's been absolutely amazing,” Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "At the end of every game, always kind of remind him about how unbelievable he is when we need a big game.
"In the first period, the reason we come out of that period 1-0 is because of him. As a team, I think we gain so much confidence from him. I think all of a sudden it's like, Smitty's on, we're going to win. That's I think a big thing.’’
There have been varying reports about Greg Jamison’s bid to buy the Coyotes and keep them in Phoenix, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was on hand for Sunday’s Coyotes-Kings game and offered this update:
"Things remain on track with the Jamison group. We are continuing the process toward getting a transaction closed."