LOS ANGELES — As the Kings navigated a minefield of the first-round series that blew them to 14 goals in two fatal losses, they sought a balance between eagerness and impatience.
In Games 2 and 3, he found himself playing with the wrong kind of frustration. It wasn’t the determination, sacrifice, and at-all-cost attitude of the regular season, but frustration, anger, and a tendency to take tough risks with limited rewards.
This is especially true when the Kings have had to play from behind. Although they made respectable starts in all four games, they were undone in the second period of Game 2 and were down 2–0 in the first period of Game 3 due to early opportunism from the Edmonton Oilers. In Games 1 and 4, the early lead helped stabilize his hands.
“You can join in, the way they like to play,” he said. They take more chances than us,” said defender Mickey Anderson. “It’s easy to get derailed when things aren’t going very well. But obviously we’ve done a good job throughout the years, when we’ve been down, to find a way to claw back and put it within our framework.” to do.”
The Kings, who have a range of experience from several Stanley Cup veterans to rookies less than the experience of a full regular season, let alone the convenience of the playoffs, now have a sense of when to run, when to walk, and when. Backtrack is faster.
“It is knowing who you are as a player, knowing the timing and the situation. You know 97 and 29 are very good players and you have to pick and choose your spot,” Kings coach Todd McClellan said, referring to Edmonton’s Conor McDavid and Leon Dressital. “We haven’t done that. Even when the game has been close, we haven’t done anything extraordinary in that.”
“When I say we have to go back to our game, our game is also making precise and immediate decisions, not interrupting,” he continued. “If you’re playing in the middle of that team, you’re done.”
Battling Edmonton, and History
There was little in the way of gray areas or interstices for Sunday’s Game 4. The 2–2 count would have effectively shortened the series to three games, while the 3–1 deficit would have placed the Kings in a position from which only 29 teams have recovered from the NHL’s 105-year history.
The most recent roster to surpass a 3–1 series deficit was that of the Montreal Canadiens last season. It shattered the Stanley Cup dreams of their rival Toronto Maple Leafs. On the bus that led the post-season worst team on record to the Stanley Cup Finals was King’s Center and regular season team MVP Philippe Danault. He assisted in a goal to give the Kings a 1-0 lead on Sunday and scored a game-winner in their Game 1 win.
In franchise history, the Kings have rallied 3–1 twice. In 1989, after the Oilers won two consecutive championships and four in a five-year span, they advanced to Edmonton. But former Oilers captain Wayne Gretzky had switched sides via trade, and he was led back by the Kings, which would leave Edmonton to wait another year for their fifth, and to date, final cup.
The second example was against the San Jose Sharks in 2014. The Kings went 3–0 down, then became the fourth team in league history to do a series reverse sweep. Those sharks were trained by none other than McLellan.
When a team doesn’t get results, personnel changes can be expected, and the Kings made a handful for Sunday’s Game 4. Two lineup changes, one at the back end and one up front, took the defense corps and the top-six forward group.
Veteran Troy Stitcher drew for rookie defenseman Jordan Spence. He teamed up with the Kings’ most experienced defender and his former Vancouver Canucks teammate Alex Adler. That means Mickey Anderson skated to the top together with Matt Roy. Oli Matta of the two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh teamed up with rookie Shaun Durzy. Stitcher scored his first goal in a Kings uniform to take a 2-0 lead in the first period on Sunday.
Winger Alex Iafalo moved to the top line to start the game, replacing scratcher Andreas Athanasiou. Karl Grundström, who missed Game 3 due to an undisclosed injury, skated to the second row in Eafalo’s place. He assisted in the opening goal of Trevor Moore.