Comments from the LA Kings upon arriving in Chicago Saturday night…
Q. Dustin, does it matter that it’s this team waiting for you tomorrow?
DUSTIN BROWN: I don’t think going into the playoffs you’re looking forward or you have a team you want to play. It’s just kind of how it works out. Generally the best teams are playing this time of year. They have been the best team for the last couple of years. You know what they did last year. I think the Central Division, even though they finished third, I think a lot of guys league-wide understood they’re still a top team.
Q. Does it matter that they ended your season last year?
BROWN: I think each year is different. We’ve been through it before. I think what happens is the more you play teams in the playoffs the more you generally don’t like each other. Last year they definitely had our number, dominated the series. That’s not something you think about now, but it’s something in the back of your head.
Q. Two series going to a seven, then having to hop on a flight for an afternoon game, how much of a grind has that been for you guys?
BROWN: It’s kind of what you make of it really. If you think it’s really difficult to travel, you’re tired, you’re going to be tired. 82 games is a grind, too. You just have to manage it as a team, as individuals, get yourself ready to go. At this time of year it’s about finding the next level.
Q. Now that you’re here, does it feel like having the fast-paced schedule, you’re able to carry your momentum over easier than having more time off?
BROWN: I think the more time off you can get, it’s probably the best. Our 2012 run we probably had the most days off in history, just the way we closed out the series. I think from my standpoint you want to keep on playing. It’s kind of like the regular season. When you have a four- or five-day break, it feels good, but you kind of just want to just play every other day.
Q. Bet it felt good to have to practice this morning.
BROWN: Yeah, I mean, with the schedule the way it is, a 2 o’clock game, find some ice time this morning, which is fine. Like I said, it’s what you make of it really. It is what it is.
Q. Two seven-game series for you guys, how much has this schedule been a grind?
ANZE KOPITAR: Yeah, it’s not the best situation, but it is what it is. Everybody knows at this time of year, it doesn’t get easy. It’s not ideal for us. We had a good little skate today. We’ll be ready for tomorrow.
Q. From the emotions of a Game 7 going back to a Game 1, is it easy to carry that momentum you had last night with how quickly this game is coming back up?
KOPITAR: We just have to refocus. Everybody will tell you in the playoffs you can’t get too high or too low. Obviously we were pretty excited last night. But that’s what happened last series. New series is starting tomorrow and we’ve got to refocus.
Q. Since you’re playing the team that eliminated you last year, does that bring extra emotion into it?
KOPITAR: Yeah, I think we had a good series last year. We’re looking to be on the other side this time around. We just have to focus. Can’t get too carried away with what happened last year. Just stay and stick with our game plan.
Q. They had your number over the last couple of years. What makes them so difficult to slow them down?
KOPITAR: They have a lot of skill, good defense. Usually when you play run-and-gun in a game with them, it’s not going to turn out very good for you. We have to play our style, grind them, try to fore check as much as we can, put pressure on them.
Q. Same game plan as against Anaheim?
KOPITAR: Anaheim had a really good team right down the line really. You had to be aware of everybody that’s on the ice. It’s not any different here in Chicago. Just have to be focused and ready for it.
Q. You’re playing with your backs against the wall. Last year you had time off. Does it make a difference to you guys? Would you have a preference?
KOPITAR: Well, we’d rather play with the lead than trailing. But sometimes that happens. I think we’ve showed a lot of character in the first series, even the second series we came back. I think we kind of showed it to ourselves that we can do it. Therefore, we feel better about it.
Q. Adding a guy like Gaborik is a big boost. Pearson and Schultz, how have they been for your lineup?
KOPITAR: They’ve been good for us. They’ve added depth to our lineup. It’s about four lines this time of the year. Everybody’s got to produce. Everybody’s got to be on their game. They’ve certainly stepped up to the plate, you know, and given us some good results.
Q. Your last series against the Blackhawks, the offense wasn’t what it hoped you would be. The offense is a lot stronger. Does it feel like those things are clicking a lot more for you now?
KOPITAR: Yeah. I don’t think we’re trying to do anything different. It’s just playing hard. This time of the year it doesn’t matter who scores as long as we do. We’ve had scoring, I guess, spread out, if you can call it that way, and we’re going to need it going forward.
Quotes from Kings coach Darryl Sutter can be found here.
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