Kings coach Darryl Sutter is an old school kind of guy. He’s a throw back to when hard work was all you needed to be successful in life. The Alberta rancher doesn’t have an iphone, he’s never been on twitter and even though his hockey knowledge runs deep – both as a player and coach – he likely doesn’t know anything about modern hockey terms, like bardown or sauce.
Yet he was hip enough earlier this week to say Jeff Carter is ‘money.’
The big right wing has 11 goals in his last 10 games, which is pretty ridiculous.
Heck, Sutter is probably expecting him to score every night now.
“Of course,” said the coach, following Saturday night’s 6-2 win. ”Why not?”
Indeed. The numbers are staggering. So, yes, why not?
“Carter scores every game,” Justin Williams said. “So, I think it’s opening everything up for the rest of us.”
A quick look at the stats shows that Williams has nine points of his own over the last eight games, including a goal and two assists vs. Calgary – his most productive night of the season thus far.
“We kind of got into a track meet in the third period. And that’s certainly not what the Kings are about. The Kings are about a sound offensive team, and I thought the first period that we were way too loose – let them get a goal late. But we found a way to right the ship and had a big second period.”
“Slava’s been playing some great hockey. Not only offensively, but in the defensive zone as well. He’s been hard, and he’s having fun out there. And that’s really good to see, because he’s vital to our success…I’m just trying to make myself available. He’s the guy that’s got to make that play. In this day in age of hockey, with so many shot blockers, you have to look for sticks in front of the net. Our defensemen have been doing a great job of finding us.”
Williams also laughed when a reporter asked him about the team’s former goaltender that was honored in a pre-game ceremony.
“Jeez, I’m 31 years old. I know all about Kelly Hrudey,” he remarked. “I don’t need a history lesson on how good of a goalie he was, and how important he was to this franchise. I’m always happy to get a win in those throwback jerseys, they’re nice…(But), We have another game against the same team on Monday. So we put these two (points) in the bank, and we’re going to look for a much harder, and obviously well rested Calgary team.”
In what many players have referred to as being like a ‘mini-playoff series,’ the Kings will turn the extremely rare trick of hosting the same team two games in a row. And based on the play in the third period Saturday night, LA should expect a chippy start to Game 2.
“Well, we want to stay away from that,” Williams said. “That’s not totally our game. It was great of Clifford to step up and have a big fight for us and respond. But we want to play on the ice and stay on top of it that way…We’re a big, strong team. That’s our identity. We’re a heckuva’ forecheck team when we put our minds to it.”
One thing they don’t have to worry much about right now is Carter. The guy just seems to score at will.
“It’s another day,” Williams said, when asked for his first thought after seeing Carter score on Saturday.
“He’s not getting chirped about it (in the locker room), he’s getting bowed down to,” Williams said with a little laugh. “He’s scoring big goals for us and I hope it continues.”
Even if it does, don’t expect Williams to give him a new nickname anytime soon.
“I think he just likes ‘Carts.’”
Call him whatever you want. All he does is score.
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