Though they’re only halfway to their goal of advancing past the opening round, the Kings could accomplish a rare feat tonight at Staples.
After falling behind 0-3 to the Sharks, the Kings won two straight and now have a chance to become just the ninth team in NHL history to force a Game 7 after going behind three games to none.
Exciting stuff, sure…just don’t expect L.A. head coach Darryl Sutter to get amped over the possibility of going down in hockey lore.
“Stay realistic,” is how Sutter explained his mindset going into Game 6, per LA Kings Insider. “Don’t get too caught up in when somebody says you’re awful or if somebody says you’re great.
“We know what we are, and we just try and stay the course and try and get everybody to be accountable and be responsible with each other.”
It’s going to be tough for the Kings not to get caught up in this, though. As mentioned, they’re getting the Sharks at home, where the Kings have dominated recently — prior to San Jose’s 4-3 OT win in Game 3, the Sharks had lost eight straight in Staples (regular season and playoffs combined.)
There’s also the not-so-small fact that, as Brough pointed out on Friday, the 0-3 deficit doesn’t seem as overwhelming as it used to be.
Of the previous eight teams to force Game 7, three of ’em — Philly in ’10, Detroit in ’11, Chicago in ’11 — occurred within the last four postseasons. That’s telling, because the last time it happened prior to the Flyers was when the Isles did it in 1975…meaning the league went 35 years without an 0-3 team forcing Game 7, then had three in two years.
The Kings also have the “advantage” of employing Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, two of the catalysts of Philly’s comeback over Boston four years ago. I say “advantage” because both have said on numerous occasions this current situation in L.A. is much different from the one in Philadelphia, but the fact remains they’re the only two that have actually experienced such a comeback and, in the case of Richards, led the charge — he scored 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 after dispatching of Boston. “We took it one goal at a time.”
That’s the mindset the Kings have adopted after falling behind 0-3 to the Sharks, though there also appeared to be some of Sutter’s never-say-die attitude sprinkled in, too.
“It’s a tough hill,” Sutter said after losing Game 3, per the Kings website. “We won’t go away quietly. That’s for sure.”