Tuesday night in Anaheim Dustin Penner had seven shots on goal, his season high with the Kings this season. Last year, his highest total with the team was 10, against those same Ducks. Prior to being traded to LA, his high water mark for the season with the Oilers was – wait for it – yes, against Anaheim.
One of the many rules of professional sports, athletes usually increase their output and level of effort against their former teams – either consciously or subconsciously.
After practice yesterday, several players noted the mood around the Kings bench was much different Tuesday than what they’ve experienced this season when the team has been down a few goals to other teams. This time, there was still a feeling of ‘We’re going to win this thing.’
“I really liked the way we responded (to being down 2-0 to Anaheim),” said Murray. “In the second half of the second period we started to do some really good things and there was a lot of great work going on. Maybe not as a line, or as a group. But, individually, I saw some really good things. Penner really stands out in my mind as a player that wanted to get it done against his old team. And he did. He ends up making a huge play to get that first goal. In the third period, everybody was revved up. I felt really good about how we came out of the locker room – the attitude, the way we came with energy and the compete, put pucks to the net. It was tremendous. There’s a lot of good confidence. It ends up at the end of the day, when you’re down, it does become an attitude. It’s about x’s and o’s sometimes, but it comes to an attitude and I thought the attitude was tremendous last night. That shows a lot of team confidence.”
Where did the attitude come from? The team was down 2-0 vs. the Canadiens the game before also. So, what was different – was it scoring the goal with less than a minute to go in the second period?
“That’s a tough thing to answer, what queues a team, what gets it going sometimes. I think (that) play certainly had a big affect on everybody, to see Penner have some success. That’s really the best that he has played for us this year. And that was right from the start of the game, the first shift that he played he was moving. He was doing a lot of good things, made some good plays. I think everybody was generally excited for him and wanted to rally around that kind of effort.”
Up next, Penner talks about his play vs. Anaheim, including the hit he put on Corey Perry - one that he says the reigning MVP of the league ‘milked’ for a little dramatization.
Late yesterday we posted several articles with more comments from Murray. Please see below for links to those topics.
Murray updates the injury status of four Kings players – Mitchell, Martinez, Richards and Williams