Drew Doughty is well aware that if the Kings have a shot at upsetting the Canucks, they need him to play like the all-world defenseman he was two years ago. Back then, he was more synonymous with winning a gold medal for Team Canada and being a Norris Trophy finalist than he was for having a prolonged contract negotiation.
Any sort of return to his previous form though will most likely involve having Doughty on the ice and not in the penalty box. During that glory year, he had 54 penalty minutes, a number slightly below the 68 and 69 minutes he’s incurred each of the last two years. And staying disciplined in this series will mean avoiding one particular Canuck too – Alex Burrows.
“The last few years when we’ve played them, I know he’s made me take a couple of dumb penalties,” said Doughty earlier today. “That’s kind of what he’s out there to do. He wants to take me off the ice. This series, I’m not going to let him affect me. I’m just going to play my game and use that motivation to play my best.”
Another form of motivation will likely come from his hatred of the Canucks. Just a few weeks ago, Doughty told MayorsManor that on a scale of 1-10, he hates the Canucks a ’10.’
Even so, he says you have to look at a mix of how the Kings have played over the 10 games and their regular season record against the Canucks when sizing up the series.
“We played a lot better hockey over the last 10 games and we gained some momentum. Now, we just have to use that and pull it into the playoffs with us. We have to be the hardest working team out there, use our identity, dump pucks in, make a lot of hits and make it a tough game for them.”
Although the personnel has slightly changed for both teams since their last playoff series, Doughty still saw a few things worth noting.
“We could have beat them,” he said. “We were right there with them and we were up 2-1 at one point. Everyone in here believes that we can win this series. There’s no doubt, even though they’re the first place team. We match up well against them. We know their strengths and their weaknesses. I definitely think there’s no reason why we’re not going to beat them.”
A large part of his confidence comes from the guy behind him, rather than the opponents in front of him…
“Quickie (Jonathan Quick) has been unbelievable all season. He’s won us many, many games,” said Doughty. “He’s great and he makes the big saves at the big time. He doesn’t let in any soft goals or anything like that. He’s been our best player all year and going into the playoffs I’m sure he’s going to be the exact same way. Now, the rest of us need to pull up our socks and be just as good as him.”