Kings center Mike Richards has quickly picked up on the fact things are tight in the Western Conference.
Last year, the difference between home ice in the first round of the playoffs (Anaheim) and sitting at home watching (Dallas) was four points. FOUR POINTS! That’s only two games.
By contrast, fourth to ninth place was a 15 point gap in the Eastern Conference.
Thus, the old adage that ‘games in October count just as much as the ones in April’ is even more true for teams out of the Eastern Time Zone.
As an avid fisherman, Richards knows all about the one that got away. And after practice yesterday, he was still thinking about the missed missed opportunities in Denver on Sunday – where the Kings outshot the Avalanche 32-16.
Still, LA never led in the game – but, also never trailed by more than one goal. They tied in twice, yet lost by the final score of 3-2.
“It was tough. It was one of those games I thought we played well and we dug in, ” said Richards. “Obviously, we lost the game. But, at the same time we probably could have earned at least a point there, if not won that game – if we had a couple good bounces. Road trips are going to happen and at the end of them you just have to dig down and focus on doing the right things and not worry about or psyching yourself out with being tired.”
“They have a lot of skill, with good, quick forwards,” remarked Richards. “The defense gives them the puck early and they really come at you with a lot of speed. But, I thought we did a good job standing over top of them, making them make plays. We did a good job moving the puck up the ice too. Like I said, that game was just one or two bounces away from us winning.”
Instead of ‘I left my heart in Denver,’ perhaps ‘We left two points in Denver’ shirts are in order.
The two teams won’t meet again until January 2nd in Los Angeles.
More notes from Tuesday’s practice can be found here – including items on the Scott Parse and Terry Murray ‘issues’…plus, the immediate plans for Dustin Penner.