Kings coach Sutter not exactly a worry-wart
As his team prepared for a deciding Game 7 against San Jose in the Western Conference semifinals, their first Game 7 appearance since 2002, Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter had a two-word response when the subject was broached by a reporter.
Well, now Sutter and his Kings are in an even more precarious situation, sitting on the cusp of elimination as they prepare for Game 5 tonight against the Blackhawks at the United Center.
Think Sutter might be a little more animated with a return trip to the Stanley Cup Finals hanging in the balance?
"You know what? I don't put a big deal on elimination games because it really doesn't have much impact on anything or anybody," Sutter said. "If we play like we did the last three games, we have a chance to win.
"Somebody will win. Somebody will lose."
While Sutter doesn't put much stock in using the past as a motivation, like the Kings battling back from an 0-2 deficit against St. Louis in their quarterfinal series, or holding off the Sharks in Game 7 in the semis, his players, like captain Dustin Brown, sure seem to see some value in a bit of desperation.
"It's a different situation when you just have one game to play," Brown said on the eve of Game 5. "You can draw on being in the trench hole together. I think it's key for us, the fact that we've been through it together -- we've been down in the holes together.
"I think the most important thing is leaning on each other at a time like now."
This is the 12th time the Kings have opened a playoff series with 3 losses in four games. The only time they were able to advance was in 1989 against Edmonton. Only 25 NHL teams have accomplished the feat.
Once again, though, if L.A. wants to keep the series alive, it looks like they'll have to do it without leading scorer Mike Richards, who's still suffering concussion-like symptoms after taking a big hit from Dave Bolland late in Game 1.
"It's still really doubtful at best," Sutter said of the chances of seeing Richards on the ice.
For a team that struggles to score goals, that's a big loss. And it means even more pressure will be applied squarely on the shoulders of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
"If there's one thing that's never going to waiver, it's the confidence we have in that guy," Brown said.
Said Sutter: "We need a great goaltending performance from our goaltender. At the end of the day, all those things everybody talks about, the only thing that matters is who scores the most goals.
"I know if you think that you can outscore Chicago, meaning get into a high-scoring thing, you're going to lose, so ..."