With the Kings and Blackhawks tied 1-1 in the Western Conference Final, LA players Jake Muzzin and Tyler Toffoli shared the following thoughts at the team’s practice facility on Thursday afternoon…
Q. Did it feel like the floodgates opened in the third period last night
MUZZIN: I don’t know if we could tell it was the floodgates. It was kind of we needed to make a push. I mean, we were going down into the third period, and now was our time to make a push. We came out, we got a power play, capitalized on the power play and responded well.
TOFFOLI: I think when Justin scored that goal, gave us a little momentum going into the third. It was a huge goal for us. Once we got that, third period, got a power play, like Muzz said, things just got rolling from there.
Q. Have you seen a team turn that quickly, almost a specific moment?
MUZZIN: I think when we were down in San Jose, they got a couple quick ones on us that turned like that. But not that quick from us anyways, to get a couple quick goals like that. It was huge for our club to kind of kill their momentum, and kill the barn. We kind of took over the game after those two goals.
Q. Tyler, what did you see from the play when you were able to get your stick on it and keep the puck out of the net?
TOFFOLI: I saw it go in the air. I figured it was going to bounce right in. I think Mitchy pushed Regin into the net. It went off his helmet, off his stick. Thank God my stick was there. Just bounced off my stick. We got a penalty on the play, but I think it’s better to get a penalty than them scoring a goal.
Q. Not something that happens every day.
TOFFOLI: Pretty lucky. Surprised it happened, but I’ll take it.
Q. Last night Jeff Carter said you just had to stay the course. How difficult is it to stay the course?
TOFFOLI: It’s playoff hockey, anything can happen. Obviously that’s a hard rink to play in. They came out fast. They were up 2-0. We stuck with our game, kept pushing. Quicky made some huge saves. Like I said, Stick [Justin Williams] scored that goal, and things started going our way. We capitalized on our chances.
Q. How does it feel to be scoring goals
MUZZIN: It always feels good when you can contribute offensively. Some shots are going in right now. You got to up your play to win in the playoffs. I think playing with Kopy and Dewey and guys like that, it helps, because they’re upping their play as well. To get a big goal last night, it was big for our club. It just feels good to contribute.
Q. From a psychological standpoint, you come out with a victory, talk about the importance of that.
MUZZIN: We talked about that actually. No one has won a playoff game in their barn yet this year. In between the second and third it was, Let’s get a push, win a game here. Quicky made some big saves to keep us in there, we capitalized on the power play. It’s good for us obviously to come home 1-1. To get a win in their barn, it’s been a while, so it was good.
Q. During these playoffs, move some defensemen in and out. What has it been like to the adjustments?
MUZZIN: You got to adapt. Creates new roles for some guys. But we’re all professionals. If an advantage comes up, you want to take advantage of it. It pushes us to be better. I think we’ve responded well as a D corps.
Q. Something about playing against them that brings out the best in you?
TOFFOLI: No, there’s some teams that you have a little more confidence in playing. Past couple games, past two games here, scored a goal. I don’t think it’s really just scoring goals, it’s the way you play and being confident, make plays, doing those little things that help the team win. I’m just trying to do whatever I can.
Q. What was the atmosphere like in that intermission? You know you’re down, you have to come back to win the game. What do you say to each other?
MUZZIN: I think our leaders in the room kind of got us together, made us realize now is our time to make a push. You don’t want to go down, come back 0-2. We kind of said, okay, let’s do this. Like I said before, we capitalized on the power play, kind of got us going with some big goals. It was nice to see everyone respond and kind of give that little extra to get the win.
Q. Tyler, you played with Jeff on and off this year. What do you see from him player to player that makes him so effective?
TOFFOLI: I think he really showed to everyone in the world what he could do in the Olympics this year. It’s incredible to play with him. He’s a real easy guy to play with. I’ve said it a lot of times, he’s really honest. He’ll let you know if you’re doing things right or wrong. I think that’s what is making our line successful so far. I think we just got to keep moving forward and keep making plays, working hard, just keep playing the way we’re supposed to be playing.
Q. Did the power-play provide a spark for your team
MUZZIN: We look for our power plays to give us momentum, not only goals, but momentum in the game. They got a lot of good shot-blockers and stuff like that. We needed to get pucks to the net. We have to work harder to find the lane and get traffic in front of their goalie. If he sees it, he’s going to save it. We got Carter in front there with a tip. I kind of used the screen there. But get pucks to the net and more bodies to the net. We obviously capitalized on two. It was good to get those goals on the power play and get the momentum we needed.
Q. With injuries and d-men in and out of the lineup how much more responsibility did you take on this time around?
MUZZIN: I obviously had to play a little penalty kill and stuff like that. But I’ve been ready for it, watching those guys, learning from them. I was excited for the opportunity. Obviously you want to play in all situations, and I got the opportunity. I just wanted to take advantage of it.
Comments from Matt Greene and Tanner Perason have been posted here.
Analysis of Game 2 from John Hoven and Jonathan Davis on NHL Radio can be heard here.