In the wake of Tuesday’s gut-punch OT loss to the Sharks, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter acknowledged his team was in a tough position — down three games to none in the opening-round series — but insisted L.A. wasn’t going to go down without a fight.
“It’s a tough hill,” Sutter said, per the Kings website. “We won’t go away quietly. That’s for sure.”
The likelihood (or, unlikelihood) of a team coming back from 0-3 down in the Stanley Cup playoffs is pretty well known, but let’s revisit anyway — only three teams in NHL history have successfully rallied: the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, the 1975 New York Islanders and the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers.
That ’10 Flyers team is definitely one we’ll be hearing about over the next few days. The team’s leading regular-season scorers were — guess who? — current L.A. Kings Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, and Richards in particular was huge in the 0-3 comeback against Boston, scoring five points over the final four games to help pull the stunner.
“Our mindset was if you are going to go down, you are going to go down swinging,” Richards said following the Game 7 victory. “We took it one goal at a time.”
Richards and the Kings might need to amend that credo, and try to prevent one goal at a time. The San Jose offense continued to sizzle in Game 3, scoring at least four goals for the third straight game. The balanced attack saw 10 different skaters register points and that included defensemen Jason Demers and Scott Hannan, who scored their first points of the series.
With those two now on the sheet, only goalie Antti Niemi and blueliner Brad Stuart have failed to notch a point through three games.
In light of that statistic, not surprising to see that Jonathan Quick’s goals-against average still sits at a bloated 5.78. That’s going to have to drop significantly if the Kings have any chance of rallying in this series, though all facets of L.A.’s game will need to improve as well. It’s something Anze Kopitar alluded to in his postgame comments.
“Every piece of this puzzle will need to give it their all,” he explained, per Mayor’s Manor. “We were better, still wasn’t good enough.”