Dustin Penner – ‘It’s kind of like poker. A chip and a chair.’

Penner MayorsManor beard LA Kings playoffsEarlier this afternoon we had some exclusive video with Dustin Penner from the Kings’ locker room following their 4-0 win in Phoenix. If you haven’t seen it yet, click here to watch it now – he talks about the Coyotes’ hits on Dustin Brown, the play of Jeff Carter and more.

Here’s what he had to say at the Kings’ training facility today, back home in LA…

– On not retaliating during the playoffs: “We talked about that a lot since Game 1 with Vancouver, just playing between the whistles, making sure we don’t let anything the other team does affect how we play the game…I think that’s what good teams try to do, they try to play in between the whistles. They don’t get over-emotional, take reckless penalties.”

– On how quickly after Game 2 coach Darryl Sutter started to reset things for everybody: “He’s done that all series. He did that even before the playoffs. We had that mindset where it didn’t matter what you did last game. I think we’ve developed that mentality on our own with his help. He doesn’t have to be as stringent on it after the game. We know what we have to do. We know what’s been working for us in the past. It’s up to the leadership group, to each man, to focus on what’s got us to where we are now.”

– On if that plays into the Kings grabbing control of games and series early: “It’s a huge part of it. We try not to take anything for granted from the other team, especially starting each series on the road. We want to get that edge where we can steal one in their building. Right now it’s working out well for us.”

– On what areas the Kings could still improveme on: “Power play. I think we sometimes pass up a lot of key scoring opportunities to make an extra pass that gets blocked. I don’t think there’s a team that’s made it far in the playoffs resting on their last game, what they did, saying, ‘that’s the best game we played.’ It’s that constant drive to the perfect game, as close as you’ll get, that I think makes a team successful.”

– On the resiliancy of Brown: “It’s almost comical to watch because you think he runs on batteries sometimes. He keeps on going. You knock him down, but you can’t keep him down. He takes a lot of punishment because he gives it out. He’s been that type of leader all year, not just last game or last series.”

– On the point when he and his teammates started to think a Stanley Cup run might be real: “When we clinched a playoff spot, that’s a great thought, we had a chance…It’s kind of like poker. A chip and a chair.”

– On seeing things coming together, feeling the Kings had the right elements: “From the guys that had been here before, we’d seen certain pieces of the puzzle on prior teams that either won it or been to the Stanley Cup finals, on the team we have now. Obviously, our goaltending has been great all year. You guys have alluded to that in the media. The best thing about that is it hasn’t affected how he plays, talking about Jonathan Quick. Our defense, starting with him, but from the forwards getting on the forecheck, it’s been great all year. We’re the second lowest in the league, and that’s because we bought into a team concept. Starting with goaltending. It’s continued on by our defense who get the puck in the forwards’ hands, don’t make too many cute plays, simplify the game.”

– On keeping things in check for game three, while the home crowd is bound to be pumped up: “You don’t want to use that energy in a negative way or a way that gets you off your game. We love the support we’re getting from L.A., especially when we’re at Staples Center. It’s been great. We look forward to every home game we have.”

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About John Hoven

John Hoven is a member of the of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and co-hosts Kings of the Podcast. He is also the founder and editor of MayorsManor.com, which has been named Best Sports Blog in Los Angeles by LA Weekly and Hockey Blog of the Year by Yahoo Sports. Click "ABOUT OUR TEAM" above for a full bio.