Kings look to bounce back again in another Game 5
SHORT HILLS, N.J. (AP) — Darryl Sutter contorted his face in a display of disbelief and disgust, and let out an incredulous laugh shortly after the Los Angeles Kings failed in their initial attempt to claim the franchise's first Stanley Cup title.
The monotone coach seemed stunned Wednesday night when he was asked about his club's "problem" in Game 4s of the playoffs. The Kings, 15-3 in the postseason, are the first team to grab a 3-0 lead in four straight series in a year — but only one of those matchups ended in a sweep as Los Angeles dropped three Game 4s at home.
The latest setback came in a 3-1 defeat on Wednesday night at the hands of the Devils, who forced a Game 5 back in New Jersey on Saturday night. Sutter couldn't believe that a failure to sweep was now the standard of being a problem.
"Awesome," he said sarcastically. "Close out a series in Game 4? It's the Stanley Cup finals."
That ended the brief three-question news conference. Sutter felt no reason to stick around any longer to entertain any talk that his surging team has any issues at all, other than it had to make one more long road trip.
Sutter was still miffed Thursday morning before the Kings headed East.
"Continue to play the way we're playing. That's why you play series," he said of his club's mindset. "Unfortunately, we have some spoiled people that think that everyone wins 16 in a row or something. A little confusing to me."
The Kings are heading back into their true comfort zone — the road. It is there that they have already set records with 10 straight victories in this postseason, and 12 playoff wins in a row, dating to last year. With one more win away from L.A., the Kings will also set the mark with 11 road wins in a single playoff.
"It's better than if we were going into another Game 4," forward Dustin Penner said after getting off the team bus in New Jersey. "Life is not so bad. We've got a few more games here to reach our end goal. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves. We had a good lesson last night, losing that one. It was a tough one.
"We're going to hopefully take the next step that we're all working toward."
The Kings are 1-3 in Game 4s with a chance to end a series, but they are 3-0 in the ensuing Game 5s, so Los Angeles is fully prepared to short-circuit any hopes the Devils have of becoming the second club to dig out of an 0-3 hole in the finals and win the Stanley Cup.
"Elimination games ... the teams you play against are there for a reason," forward Justin Williams said Thursday. "It's not supposed to be a sweep all the time. You're not supposed to win every game.
"That's when their character comes out, when their backs are against the wall. They played a great game, battled hard. We just didn't quite have enough."