Who’s right, Jeff Carter or Kyle Clifford?

Carter after Keith hit MayorsManor KingsComments from LA Kings forwards Jeff Carter and Kyle Clifford during media availability on Thursday afternoon…

Q. Jeff, what is the big difference between this team and the team that won the Cup?

CARTER: Not a lot. I mean, we made it a little more difficult on ourselves this year. We’ve had to really dig down and battle back in a lot of series. For the most part it’s the same team. A few additions here and there, but not much different.

Q. Some of the line shifts and changes that coach made, did you feel a little out of sync in that first period?

CLIFFORD: Yeah, wasn’t the start we wanted. Decided to make line changes. Just went from there. Everybody just went about their game, tried to make it better.

CARTER: Yeah, I mean, I think we started out slow. We didn’t have our legs I think from puck drop. When you get down 2-0, you got to do something to kind of get everybody going. Flip-flopped a little bit there. It started working for us, so we kept going with it.

Q. When you don’t have the legs early, do you have any advance warning that’s going to happen? Do you know before you go out?

CARTER: No, no. I mean, they had a pretty good game plan to come out and start the game. They came at us with a lot of speed. They were throwing pucks at the net from everywhere. Seems like we were just kind of standing around watching them. But, no, I mean, that’s just kind of the way it went. We battled through it and ended up with the win.

Q. Jeff, Darryl talked about the fact that you have so many guys from 2012, but five or six guys in their first Cup. I’m curious the conversations you may have had with them?

CARTER: They’re smart kids. They know what’s at stake here. There’s not much that really needs to be said to them. They get it. I think one thing you can say to them is, Don’t let it slip away because you don’t know if you’ll ever get back. It’s not easy to get here. They understand that. Thought they were good last night.

Q. Kyle, it wasn’t so long ago that if a team got down 2-0, you could turn the lights out in a playoff game. Describe the emotion on the bench or in the dressing room when you get behind, what maybe allows this team to come back whenever these things happen to you.

CLIFFORD: I think with our leadership, we got a lot of leadership throughout the locker room. Guys kind of rally around them. They’re able to put the team on their back, try to get a better outcome.

Q. Both of you have seen Quicky make huge saves in his career. Give me a description of what went through your mind.

CARTER: I’m glad he made that save because I was the one that chipped it back to the D man. It’s a pretty good feeling as a player to know we have Quicky back there. If something like that does happen, we know he’s got our back. We know what he’s capable of. I was definitely glad he was back there.

CLIFFORD: Yeah, he’s a confident goaltender. We have a lot of confidence in him. We know he’s going to make a couple big saves every night for us, so…

Q. Jeff, you were talking about your linemates. Do you feel like you have a leadership role with them? What do you think of that 70s line. And, Kyle, battling back all the time, maybe what it’s like for this team to not panic.

CARTER: For myself personally, it’s been a lot of fun to play with them. They bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to our team. They’re out there on the ice having fun, working hard. Like I said earlier, they’re smart kids. They understand how it works, what needs to be done at this time of the year. There’s not really much that has to be said to them.

Q. What do you think about the nick name?

CARTER: I mean, it is what it is (laughter).

CLIFFORD: You know, like I said, we got a lot of leadership. We’re a team that’s just never going to go away. Doesn’t matter what the score is, we’re going to play our hardest, do what we do best, so…

Q. Jeff, when you won in 2012, you were not exactly known as a goal-scoring team. If there is a difference in this team, it might be in the goal-scoring prowess of the team.

CARTER: It hasn’t always been easy for us, even this year. I think we were 26th in the league through the regular season. I don’t know if it’s just a matter of guys bearing down more on their chances or what it is. But I think with the addition of Gabby coming in, he’s brought a lot to that line. He and Kopi read off each other well. Bringing Tyler and Tanner, they’re real skilled players. A lot of speed, skill to our team. All three of those guys give us a little boost in that aspect.

Q. What do you do on a day like today?

CARTER: Just come to the rink, get a good sweat in on the bike, stretch, regroup, get focused on Game 2.

Q. Is there a Jekyll-and-Hyde thing with Williams?

CARTER: Like Cliffy talked about, he’s a leader on our team, vocal guy in the room. You can see the passion that comes out come game time. He knows when to turn it on, knows when to turn it off. He’s a real big part of our team.

Q. Kyle, two years ago when you were hurt in the playoffs, how difficult was it not always being on the ice being able to contribute? How does it make this playoff run feel?

CLIFFORD: Obviously you always want to be playing. It’s just great to be a part of that run. Even not playing, you get to learn a little something about what it takes to win. We had a great group of guys. Fun to be a part of. Just gets you motivated to go out and want to do it.

Q. Jeff, you’ve been around Mike Richards a long time. What has it been like to see his role altered?

CARTER: Yeah, I mean, that’s just the way it goes sometimes. I think Mike, if he’s not scoring enough points, he’s doing a lot more for the team that maybe a lot of people don’t see. He’s a big part of our dressing room. He does a lot of little things on the ice really well that translate into wins. The average hockey fan might not notice that, but we do. He brings a lot to our team.

Q. Jeff, three straight long playoff runs. Do you have a blueprint toward building up through the season towards this time of year?

CARTER: I mean, for us the division title or Western Conference championship doesn’t mean too much if you don’t get the ultimate goal. We come in every year at training camp focused on winning the Stanley Cup. That’s our mindset from day one. Coaches do a great job of keeping us set on that plan, along with our leaders, the players in the room. Everybody knows what we need to do to get it done. We go out and do it.

MORE: Comments from Kings forward Marian Gaborik here.


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