Upon landing in Chicago on Tuesday, Kings forwards Jeff Carter and Trevor Lewis shared the following thoughts…
Q. Your screen you had on the goal, that’s an example that you are out-smarting the Blackhawks, playing a smarter game. Do you feel that way, that your hockey IQ is ruling the series at this point?
CARTER: I think you go up against a team like Chicago, obviously they’re highly skilled. They’ve won two of the past three championships.
We feel like we can play with them. If we’re going to beat them on any given night, we’ve got to be sharp in all areas of the game, and that includes thinking and doing the right things, reading plays, reacting to plays, whatnot. Whatever it takes.
Q. How much does it help knowing you’ve won a game here this series?
LEWIS: I think it’s big. A little bit of confidence for us. It’s a tough building to win in. I think the last game we won here was really big here for us.
Q. (Question regarding the forecheck.)
CARTER: I thought we’ve done a good job with it so far. I think when you give their D time and space, you know, they’re such good skaters, they move the puck real well, they’re coming out of their end pretty clean every time. It’s been a big key for us. I think where we’re putting pucks, putting them in good positions to get them back, just using our speed. I think we’ve really been on our toes the last few games, been skating well. It’s been working for us. Hopefully we can keep it going.
Q. Playing in their end, whether the best defence is a good offense.
CARTER: Especially against these guys, it’s a lot easier. We know what they have over there in terms of offense, how good they are at putting the puck in the net. The more we can play in their end, make their forwards play in their end, kind of wear them out a little bit, it will go a long way for us.
Q. (Question regarding getting into Crawford’s crease.)
LEWIS: I think it starts with the forechecking, putting pucks in areas where we can get them back, having that close support so we can get the puck out of the corner and try to get to the net and try to beat them to the net. He’s a great goaltender. If he sees a puck, he’s usually going to stop it. I think we’ve been doing a better job at getting one or two guys in front and being there for those rebounds, too.
Q. Years ago we wrote a lot about defenders on the team lining up in the middle. You have four great centers instead of three. How big of a difference is it this year having four guys?
CARTER: Well, we’ve had great centers ever since I came here. Kopy, Rick, Stolly, Fraz, Lewy has played center. Doesn’t matter who we have there, we feel we match up with anybody. I think with the way we have it set up now, four solid lines, it’s tough matchups for teams. Any of our lines can play against the top line on the opposing team. It’s been working well for us. I think we found some chemistry on all our lines. I think everybody is comfortable in the roles they’re in. It’s been going good.
Q. (Question regarding working on faceoffs)
CARTER: I don’t do it too much. Guys like Stolly do it a lot more than me. Probably something I should work at.
Q. (On whether it’s contagious being around guys who are so good at the faceoff.)
CARTER: Yeah, yeah. I mean, Stolly has obviously been one of the top guys in the league for a while now. He works hard at it. It’s something he takes pride in. When you see a guy that works that hard at little areas of the game that become big areas of the game in games like this, it’s definitely good to see.
Q. Have you seen any resignation or quit in the Blackhawks at all? Or are you expecting their best?
LEWIS: We’re expecting their best. They’re back at home now. We’re expecting them to come out hard. I mean, they’re defending Cup champions. I don’t think they’re going to give up by any means.
Q. (Question regarding Kane.)
LEWIS: He’s a great player. He gets in open ice, he can do a lot of dangerous things. I think a little bit of the key is to limit his time and space, try to get on him, make him make a play before he wants to. I think we’ve been doing a good job with that. I think we can still do a little bit better job of not letting him get his speed up, make all the plays he’s making.
Q. (Question regarding the young guys.)
CARTER: They’ve been great. Obviously they’re a huge part of this team. You talk about Tyler and Tanner, Muzz and Slava. We got a lot of young guys that haven’t been around a long time, but they’ve got a lot of experience the last few years with us. They’re having fun with it. They’ve worked hard to get here. Hopefully they can keep it going.
Q. (On Jake Muzzin.)
LEWIS: I think you’ve always seen the potential in him. He’s always been really, really skilled offensively. I think Drew has helped him out a lot on the back end talking to him, helping him out, video sessions, stuff like that. I think he really listens to Drew. I think, like I said, he’s helped him out a lot. Hopefully he just keeps getting better.
Q. Where do you think hockey is in terms of some of the other sports in L.A.?
CARTER: I think it’s definitely growing. In the three years that I’ve been out there, definitely see the fan base growing, the excitement around the city come playoff time. It’s a good sign for hockey in California. Hopefully we can keep doing well. Hopefully we’ll win a few more championships and hope it grows even more.
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