The Los Angeles Kings are ahead 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Final, with a chance to clinch their second Stanley Cup in three seasons on Wednesday night in New York.
On the day off Tuesday, though, chatter in the Kings’ locker room seemed to revolve around their first round series with San Jose. The Sharks, of course, were up 3-0 on the Kings, but failed in four attempts to close it out and advance.
The bottom line for the Kings is that they know not to take anything for granted headed into Game 4, due to their own experience in late April.
“It wasn’t easy for us to come back from 3-0 in the first series against San Jose. We know how it can happen,” Drew Doughty told LAKingsInsider.com. “All it takes is one game, one momentum shift, the team can run with it, the other team can be down in the dumps. That’s why this next game is so important for us. We can’t let them back into the series. We have to take it to them. They’re going to have their best effort without a doubt, and we need to have ours as well.”
Jarret Stoll spoke of the emotions from being down in a series, three games to none.
“I was like, ‘Gee, are we really down 0-3 here?’ Very quickly after you realize you have to win Game 4, just win one game, start putting a little bit of pressure on them.”
For Stoll, the series changed when the Kings dominated Game 5 at SAP Center when the Sharks had a chance to close out the series at home.
“You win one game, then you go into their building Game 5,” he said. “That was kind of a turning point I thought for that series for our team, going in there and winning. Put a lot of doubt in their minds. Exactly what we do not want to do in this series. We want to have a killer instinct and play the right way, play determined, not let any of that stuff happen or think about it.”
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Since the end of the Kings’ series, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson and head coach Todd McLellan have made strong indications they are not content with the club’s leadership group, and have spoken about turning the team over to the younger players. Trading one or both of captain Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau is not entirely out of the realm of possibility.
On Wednesday morning, Doughty offered up an indictment of his own.
"You could see it in their eyes and their team and their captains and leaders that they were worried about us coming back,” Doughty told the Chicago Sun Times.
Strong words from the player who has arguably been Los Angeles’ best throughout its playoff run, and its unlikely there would be an argument from the Sharks’ brass.