EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – No Los Angeles Kings player was alive the last time the Kings had a 2-0 series lead. Los Angeles was in its first year of existence when it won the first two games against the Minnesota North Stars in 1968.
"The Kings team that was up, 2-0, lost in seven games," captain Dustin Brown said.
Brown didn't thumb through a media guide. Someone told him how long it had been, and for good reason. The Kings are in uncharted territory with a 2-0 lead on the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, with the series shifting to Staples Center for Games 3 and 4.
The Kings are on letdown alert given their underwhelming postseason history. L.A. lost all three home games against San Jose in last season's quarterfinals and two of three against Vancouver in 2010.
"Historically, for this team in recent playoffs, we haven't played well at home," Brown said. "It's important to draw attention to that. We've done a good job getting two wins, but there's a lot of areas we can get better at and it's really important to take advantage of home ice."
The Kings were up, 2-1, on Vancouver in the 2010 quarterfinals and lost the next four games. Can they draw on that experience?
"What we've learned is when you're up, they're going to be a desperate hockey club," Anze Kopitar said. "We have to make sure we don't give them any life. As soon as there's a chance to finish them off, we have to finish them off. We didn't do that two years ago, but I think everybody's learned from that."
Five-on-five needs improvement: Despite the 2-0 lead, the Kings are not grading themselves well outside of special teams. They've scored three power play goals, two shorthanded and gone 10-for-10 on the penalty kill.
But there is a general feeling that Vancouver has been at least even and perhaps better in 5-on-5 play.
"We're up, 2-0, but we feel fortunate in a lot of ways to be up, 2-0," Jarret Stoll said.
Kopitar and Mike Richards pointed to committing too many turnovers and relying too much on Jonathan Quick, who made 46 saves in Game 2.
"We didn't spend a lot of time with the puck in five-on-five [Friday] night just because we turned too many pucks over and I thought we were chasing the game a little bit," Richards said.
Said Kopitar: "We've been shorthanded for close to 19 minutes in two games. That's too much. The penalties that we're taking are sometimes not the best penalties – holding and tripping. Those are the ones we have to avoid."
"It sort of overrides everything we've talked about," Sutter said. "We haven't had our foot on the gas the whole way. We have a number of guys that have experience with long playoffs or a lot of games played that can play a hell of a lot better."
Richardson skating, Clifford out:Brad Richardson resumed skating for the first time since he had an emergency appendectomy Monday night.
Richardson said his mother, Jan, a longtime nurse, diagnosed it after Richardson had pain Sunday. Richardson did not know when he would be cleared to play. He'll see a doctor on Monday.
"I was lucky I was there at the right time," Richardson said. "I feel a lot better than I was. I was on the ice a little bit today and I felt okay. It's still pretty sore, but I think that's the way it is."
Kyle Clifford (upper body) did not skate and Sutter did not have an update.
We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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