BEVERLY HILLS – Forgive the Los Angeles Kings if they’re not crippled by their current 0-2 Western Conference Final deficit to the Chicago Blackhawks.
“We've been here, what, three weeks ago?” Justin Williams told reporters on Monday.
Yeah, it’s been about that. Williams was referring to the Kings’ first round, where they lost the first two games to the St. Louis Blues before winning four in a row to claim the series. So it’s déjà vu time for them. Are they frustrated they’re down again? Sure, the Kings aren’t happy about it. But are they intimidated or discouraged by it? Hardly.
“It's adversity. I think adversity can be a good thing sometimes if you can get through it,” said current Kings/former Blackhawks forward Colin Fraser. “I mean, injuries are part of hockey. Every team's had their injuries at some point. Things like that, there's nothing you can do. And there's nothing you can do also about the first two games. You can sit there and dwell on it or move forward and just play our best game. We have to bring our best game in Game 3.”
The Kings have all the motivation they need, as they return home for Game 3 on Tuesday night. They’re back in the building where they’ve gone 7-0 this postseason, and where their comeback against the Blues began two rounds ago.
“I think you can draw on the fact that we've been in this situation before in the sense that the series is long from over for our mindset. It's about playing the game. I mean, we try to cut it in half tomorrow night,” Dustin Brown told reporters. “We were down 2-0 against St. Louis. The only difference is we’re in the Western Conference Finals now.”
True. But the Kings are feeling some aches and pains more in the Western Conference Finals than they were in the first round. And while St. Louis is a good team, the Blues aren’t the Blackhawks. Still, there’s no doubt they’re going to come out with everything they’ve got in Game 3. Jonathan Quick had a rare hiccup in Game 2 but will likely be back to his typical form. The Kings, who got off to a good start Sunday night, will want to get goals to show for that work. And while they haven’t been lighting the lamp much overall, the Kings have been better scoring at home (18) than on the road (11).
“Obviously it's not do or die tomorrow, but it is. So home ice has been something that we've been able to rely on and have in our back pocket if we have struggled on the road, and we have,” Williams said. “We're going to need to use it tomorrow.”