The Los Angeles Kings are coming off a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks last night and will conclude their mini two-game road trip when they face the Western Conference leading San Jose Sharks.
Los Angeles has won a season-high five straight road games and it is only the fourth time in franchise history they have five consecutive games wins on the road. The Kings will be vying for their sixth tonight at HP Pavilion. The team last won six consecutive road games back on Oct. 29 – Nov. 14 1984.
Since late December, the Kings are 9-2-1 in their last 12 road games. During that stretch, they have out-scored their opponents by a margin of 41-28.
But the Kings will be facing stiff competition as the Sharks own a league-leading 24 victories at home; San Jose has only loss twice in regulations at home this season.
However, the Sharks have dropped six of their past eight games.
Erik Ersberg will most likely man the net tonight after rookie goaltender Jonathan Quick played the previous night at Anaheim. Quick participated in the optioned morning skate and was one of the last players off the ice…Tom Preissing also took part in the morning skate…The Kings’ franchise record of consecutive road wins is eight games back on Dec. 18, 1974 – Jan. 16, 1975.
On the team’s successes on the road:
“Keeping the game simple and getting out to a good start. Getting the first goal and just working from there. It’s almost like we put too much pressure on ourselves at home to get the fans into it, put on a good show, and just try to do too much. On the road, we get away from that and simplify our game and that’s where we’re successful.”
On playing the Sharks:
“We need to be really simple and good defensively to play one of the best team in the NHL. We know the Sharks are an unbelievable team and we’re not going to take anything for granted. We’re going to try and play simple, get our two points and get out of here with everybody intact.”
On Jonathan Quick’s play as of late:
“He can’t say too many good things about him. He’s unbelievable. He kind of came out of nowhere and it just goes to show what people can do when you give them a chance. We’ll be riding him out throughout the year at the rate he’s going.”
On being three points out of eighth place in the tight Western Conference:
“The teams are so similar. Columbus, Minnesota, us all the way down, it’s really anybody’s race. There’s no dominate team except for the Sharks, Red Wings and maybe Chicago, but everyone is so close. Any game could be won or loss.”
On how to be successful the remainder of the season:
“We can’t take any nights off. We’re not good enough to do that and squeak games out. Keep it simple and come play every game to try and get those two points. Especially when we play teams we’re fighting (for a playoff spot with), we can’t be winning in shootouts and can’t be giving any points away. That is our main focus.”
On the team’s young players:
“We’re almost 60 games into the season so everyone is a veteran now. Our rookies play a lot of minutes. I don’t see youth as a variable (to our success) we put them into the most pressure packed times in the game. We’re in every game and so there are like 50 games where it was a one-goal game. I think they are ready to go.”
Coach Terry Murray
On the Sharks:
“They’re the best team in the League. I look at the stats everyday and they look pretty good; they play pretty good.”
“The biggest challenge is getting ourselves ready to go again, that’s the focus we’re putting on in the pre-game talk is what are we going to do to come out a play against a great hockey club. The mental preparation begins now, this morning. We reviewed a lot of the positive things that happened last night and we have to continue to go out there and execute. The checking part is important for a young hockey club. We’re not at that stage in our game where we can go out and match San Jose on attack and rushes. We need to be really responsible away from the puck and making sure we’re limiting the number of opportunities that great players like Joe Thornton create."
On the Kings’ progress since they last visited HP Pavilion:
“Where we’re improving is just growing. We’re more mature. The younger guys are settling into being players in the NHL and are more confident. As you go through the process of playing the games, you get better; you do the right thing, you make the right decisions when the pressure’s on. I think the team’s coming together with the chemistry that you like to see as a coach. The dressing room is becoming closer and solid. We’re playing road games and the players are getting together and are hanging out getting to know each other. That’s just the process you go through and the maturity a sign of it.”
On goaltenders Erik Ersberg and Jonathan Quick:
“When you go from the start of the year, we had a pretty good handle on the checking side of the game. We were limiting shots and the chances against. We made a decision to move up the younger players and let the group grow together. Both these young players in net have really grabbed onto the opportunity playing with a great deal of innocence out there and trying to show the skill level, the talent level, that they have. The players in front really enjoy playing for these guys. We all understand the process, it takes time for it to come together and I think they’re sending a message to us as coaches and management that this is a group that we’re going to eventually move on and do some good things.”
On the young defensemen:
“I just put good players on the ice and let them play. They have great hockey sense, great awareness, they’re good players. When you put them into a critical situation you have to trust them that they’re going to go out and try to do the right thing. There might be things happening where it might not work out the right way this time, but most importantly you learn from it and go back out there and try it all over again and hopefully the next time it does work out. They give us a lot of hope, a lot of energy and enthusiasm.”
On players playing beyond their years:
“Talent players always seem to be that way. It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you’re a talented or gifted player, you go out and play. All these young defensemen in the League go into the League comfortably at an early age.”
On Anze Kopitar and Jarret Stoll’s lines:
“We’re starting to get offensive from them. They’re playing with good chemistry and good anticipation. They’re reacting to each other and that happens over time. There’s a need for patience on my side of it to let them work it out. As we get back off that five-game road trip, we saw some good results. You have to stick with it and just let them keep building on it. If there are things that develop where it might be an off night you can’t overreact to you. You have to give them an opportunity to put it back together.”