Kings won’t panic despite trailing Golden Knights 2-0

Updated April 14, 2018 - 7:30 pm

LOS ANGELES — There is no sign of panic despite a 2-0 series deficit. They’ve survived these situations before and have two Stanley Cup trophies since 2012 to prove it.

So the Los Angeles Kings won’t reach for that button just yet, not even after a 2-1 double-overtime loss to the Golden Knights on Friday night at T-Mobile Arena in Game 2 of the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Los Angeles will attempt to cut its deficit in half beginning at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Staples Center.

“We had two games on the road where we were close and had an opportunity to win but didn’t,” Kings coach John Stevens said at the team’s practice facility Saturday morning, about 12 hours after the teams needed more than 95 minutes to decide Game 2.

“So we need to climb back in the series tomorrow. There’s some things we can try to do better. We’d like to find a way to spend a little more time in their zone so we can create a little more and wear them down a little more.

“It’s time to take care of business at home. That mindset hasn’t changed.”

Much of the Kings’ core was on the roster for the franchise’s Stanley Cup championships in 2012 and 2014. The Kings played seven-game series in 2014 in each of the first three rounds. They trailed 3-0 in the Western Conference quarterfinals in 2014 against San Jose before winning four straight.

Players said they learned valuable lessons from that playoff run to a title.

“This is nothing new for us,” Kings center Jeff Carter said. “Guys are staying positive. We’ve been here before. We just know we have to take care of business at home. Obviously, we would have liked to have gotten a win in Vegas, but it’s a long series.”

Carter played just 27 games this season, finishing with 13 goals and 22 points. He has taken four shots and failed to score a point in more than 50 minutes of ice time in the series.

He’s not the only star struggling to find a rhythm. The Kings have scored one goal in more than 155 minutes in the series.

Star forwards Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown have been held without a point on a combined 13 shots.

“They’re a fast, highly skilled team,” Carter said of the Knights. “That’s what everyone talks about, and that’s what we’ve seen. But they also do a really good job getting back. They make it tough on you. There’s just not a lot of holes in their game.”

The Kings didn’t take the ice Saturday, using the time for recovery, treatment and meetings to discuss adjustments for Game 3.

Los Angeles will get a boost from the return of star defenseman Drew Doughty, who was suspended by the NHL for Friday’s game for his check to the head of Knights forward William Carrier in Game 1. But the Kings know it will take a team effort to get back into the series.

“I think when you look at Vegas, they have over 50 wins for a reason,” veteran defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. “They’ve earned respect in the way they play the game and winning hockey games.

“The bottom line is it’s a series, not one game, not two games. We’re coming home to play in front of our fans, and we’re going to use that energy.”

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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