Four was a big number for the Kings on Wednesday night. Not only were they going for win number four versus Vancouver, but Jeff Carter had more than four shots too. Why is that significant? Since coming to LA, when he had at least that many shots in a game, the team was 6-2. He also had goals in four of those eight games.
Unfortunately, the stats didn’t work in his favor this time around. Although he lead the team with seven shots on goal, he didn’t score and the Kings didn’t get that elusive series clinching victory.
“I definitely felt it was my best game,” responded Carter earlier today, when asked for an assessment of his performance. “I felt like I was on the puck more and making contact with their guys. When you’re doing that, you’re on the puck and you’re turning pucks over. I felt like I had better legs too. I had some jump in my step and was able to get there (quicker). The first few games I felt like I was basically just chasing the puck around. For me, I have to keep getting on the body and turning pucks over. That’s when I create my opportunities.”
Part of his movement may be aided by a healing ankle. Nearly forgotten among the storylines of the series is the fact that Carter missed the five final regular season games after suffering an injury in Calgary on March 28th. For the most part, it’s been a non-issue as he’s averaged 26 shifts per game in the series thus far.
As for the health at the other end of his 6-foot-4 frame, Carter declared he and the team have a positive mental approach right now.
“I think we’re still upbeat, confident in our game and feel comfortable with where we’re at,” he said. “Obviously, we would have liked to have won the last game. But, that’s the way it goes. We’re playing the President’s Trophy winners, the top team in the league right now. We’re real confident though. We still feel we haven’t played our best hockey yet, which is a good sign for us – especially being up 3-1 at this point.”
So, did Vancouver win that game or did the Kings lose it?
“A combination of both. I think in the first period we had a chance to wrap it up and we gave them a little it of life and they capitalized on their power play opportunities.”
Were some guys maybe over confident during intermission, up in the series and leading after the first twenty minutes?
“I think we were all right,” Carter surmised. “There’s guys in this room who have won before and been in the situation where they’ve made runs in the playoffs. When you’ve done that, you realize what kind of situation you’re in. So, I don’t think guys were taking it for granted or anything like that. We were ready to go in the second, it just didn’t happen.”
Turning the page and moving ahead, what type of changes will he be making for game five?
“I only took one suit up to Vancouver,” he said with a little chuckle. “I wore that all four games since we hadn’t lost until Wednesday. So, I’ll have to change that up now for Sunday. Other than that, I’ll be doing the same thing. I’m not a real superstitious guy. I have basically the same routine.”
If he can get more than four shots, statistics say the Kings have a good chance of winning.