NEWARK, NJ In all four playoff rounds the Los Angeles Kings have burst out to 3-0 leads against the Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes and the New Jersey Devils.
In three of those four series theyve dropped Game Four, and had to dispatch their opponents in five games. In the second round series against the Blues they just steamrolled them in four games.
So theres a pattern here for a dominant Kings bunch to follow, and the pattern would dictate that Jersey might be in trouble in Game 5 at the Prudential Center coming off a 3-1 victory that helped extend the series. At least thats the Kings theory and theyre sticking to it while head coach Darryl Sutter insists theyre feeling no pressure.
I think there was a letdown after not sealing the deal in Game4 with our home crowd, admitted Kings Captain Dustin Brown. Everyone wakes up the next morning and understands the situation we're in, not only the opportunity but the responsibility to be better in Game 5.
It's been a long, long playoff obviously. Emotionally and physically you're going to be tired. It's a matter of finding the next gear. I think it's pretty much an even playing ground when you consider fatigue because each teams have gone through three series and are battling as hard as they can. It's really about just finding the next gear. The team that does normally wins.
The Kings would close out their playoff run at 16-3 in four postseason rounds if they can win their first Stanley Cup title in nearly 50 years as an NHL franchise, and thats the kind of dominance that rarely rears its head in the NHL these days.
Thats 1988 Edmonton Oilers kind of dominance through the playoff field, but Sutter said his team hasnt changed with another chance to clinch their Cup.
You know what? We haven't changed. I haven't seen a big change in our team emotionally for almost two months now, said Sutter. I think we've been able to handle different situations. I think they've learned, because of the breaks we had before Series 2 and before Series 3, the breaks they had, they had to learn to get their space.
They had to get back to being focused and reloaded. They've done a good job of that. You leave it to your veterans, reinforce it with the kids.
Instead Sutter was focusing on June 9 as Farmers Day in the rural Alberta farmland where he grew up, and would include recreational activity like coolers in the park. That simple farmers thought puts things into perspective for the Kings coach headed into the biggest game of the franchises history with yet another chance to grasp hockey greatness.