Tonight the Kings will host the Calgary Flames. And then in a de ja vu moment, they’ll do it again on Monday.
Now, it’s one thing to play a home-and-home series with your opponent. But, this is somewhat uncharted waters for the Kings, where they’ll be playing two games in a row at home against the same team. Well, unless – as Darryl Sutter pointed out – you count the playoffs.
So we asked several players, when you’re in the middle of the regular season, does knowing you’ll be playing the same team for the next two games help in your preparation at all?
– Dustin Brown: “I think maybe in the approach, how we prepare for our game from a team standpoint, video and all that. It doesn’t happen very often where you play games back-to-back against the same team. That’s kind of the rhythm you get into during a playoff series. You have your nightly meetings, go over stuff you know by heart, but you still go over it. From that standpoint, yes. Every other aspect it’s just getting ready to play two more games.”
– Anze Kopitar: “Yeah, I guess so. I mean it’s going to be the same video in both games probably. You know the guys that you’re playing against. You don’t have to think about it. You just come and have to be ready to go regardless of who you’re really playing against. Maybe it is to an advantage, maybe not. It just depends on each and every guy.”
– Mike Richards: “You don’t want to look past the first game. You don’t want to look at it like you’re playing a team and have two shots or whatever. You want to just focus on (the first one) and then worry about Monday night when Sunday comes.”
– Drew Doughty: “I think it helps. It’s easier on your mind. You know exactly what to expect from their forecheck. Every single aspect of the team, after that first game especially, should be right in our brains. And there’s nothing really to think about. Some things will kind of boil over from the first to the second game, and that kind of gives you more motivation to beat them in the second one.”
In the Kings last game, a 5-2 loss to the Stars, one of the few highlights was Doughty’s big hit on Alex Goligoski. So, how many times has he watched the replay of the hit?
“They showed it on video (before practice) and then I watched all my shifts by myself,” Doughty said, “So I replayed it a couple times. But, I need a slow-mo, I haven’t seen a slow-mo yet.”
How did it look in real-time?
“I liked it. I thought it was pretty similar to that (Taylor) Hall hit I had. I’m trying to pick up my physical game this year, and I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job of that, and it’s something I need to continue doing at the same time.”
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