Post-game comments from coach Darryl Sutter following the Kings’ 2-1 win over the visiting Detroit Red Wings…
– On stealing this one tonight: “Well we played them twice. We thought we deserved better in Detroit. So maybe it all comes from the hockey God right? We played well in the third, we struggled in the first, but quite honestly they’re a good hockey team too. So everybody’s searching for the perfect game.”
– On the play along the boards by Trevor Lewis and Dwight King that set up Anze Kopitar’s goal: “Kinger and Lewey are good on the walls. That was the biggest problem we had tonight, the wingers weren’t very good on the walls. We were just trying to find three sets of wingers that would give us that in the third and got lucky. Got lucky we had the right guys out there. Players weren’t lucky, I was lucky. It’s not always easy to win, and you don’t always play a perfect game. I don’t think there was much in our tank to be honest.”
– On Bernier’s game: “It was awesome. First period, their five-on-three, you know what – no rebounds, couple of big saves. That’s what you need to kill penalties. It’s almost the opposite, you know, our penalty kill has been struggling. We get two big kills in the first, a lot of it was our goaltender. It was the difference in the hockey game.”
– On holding opponents below their scoring average since the last Detroit game and the overall defensive improvement: “Well, we have to play that way if you want to be a playoff game. It’s not hard to figure out. I know it sounds like ‘geez’, but just do it every night. Add every game up and it’s pretty close to dead-on, three-two every night. So, sometimes it’s four-one, look at our games. Just do it. So if you allow more than that, we’re not going to win. If our goaltending keeps – the thing we have to work on, it’s not goals against, it’s save percentage. So Bernie’s continuing to move up. Jonathan Quick has to move up. We play 17 games in March. His save percentage has to be better. When you look at the league, our goals against is probably now top-five, six or whatever it is. But, our save percentage has to be better. There are statistics that hold true, and that’s one of them.”
– On it being a surprise that the reigning Conn Smythe winner needs to improve his save percentage at this point: “Well, he’s improving, it is improving. Look where it started and look where it is. So, it is improving, right? There’s only one way that it can improve – it’s when he gets to play. So, you know what? We want to emulate the Boston Bruins. The Boston Bruins are the team that won the Stanley Cup two years ago. We should try to emulate them, right? They give up the fewest shots, we give up the second fewest shots. So then it comes down to the guy that’s stopping the shots, right? So when we’re playing those kids on the back end, this is the best game they’ve played this year. The four guys that haven’t played a lot of minutes in the NHL, including Slava, that’s the best game they’ve played. So you still need the goaltending, right? It doesn’t matter. You can say, ‘Well geez, this kid has played great.’ But at the same time, you’d say, ‘well our goaltending was average tonight.’ Tonight our goaltending was great. The kids had their best game, scored a big goal, scored a power play goal. Kopi’s goal. Big guys are supposed to score goals. Good chance of winning.”
– On if Bernier was slated to play this many games going into the season: “Quick wasn’t ready to start the season, was he? If we had started on time, he wouldn’t have played until January. So, we kind of just went with it, right? Competition is the best thing for both. Hey, competition is the best for everybody. Those defensemen see Martinez is getting ready to play. Somebody’s not going to play. I can only dress six. You’d like to dress everybody, but you can’t.”
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I think sutter just admitted that sometimes it’s a 4-1 league.
I’m intrigued he wants to emulate the Bruins. Why not look at what worked last year and try to do that again? Or was it really just the planets aligning and everything going right for them that led to the Cup?