EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Little has gone wrong for the Los Angeles Kings thus far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but there was one teachable aspect that they brought back home after Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
The Kings jumped on the St. Louis Blues for a four-goal opening period, but they were outshot 24-5 the rest of the way as St. Louis got reorganized, although it was too little, too late to prevent a 5-2 loss.
L.A. reconvened at its home facility Tuesday feeling good about owning a 2-0 series lead. But the Kings know the last 40 minutes weren't the ideal way they would have liked to take to victory.
"It wasn't the best," Anze Kopitar said. "There's no secret to it. I'm sure every other guy will tell you the same thing. We had, what, six shots the rest of the way? It's not good. It didn't hurt us last night. We had the start we wanted. But you want to stay consistent, obviously, and play like that for 60 minutes. There's room for improvement and we've got to be ready for Game 3.
"That's probably one of the worst periods they had in their season so far. They said it, at least what I've heard from them. They're going to be ready for Game 3. We have to be focused."
A trademark of Kings coach Darryl Sutter's style this season has been to remind his team on any little thing they can improve on, but he didn't let on when asked to assess the second and third period from Game 2.
"I think we protected a lead," Sutter said.
Asked if that's what they wanted to do, Sutter said, "We wanted to win. Isn't that what you're supposed to do?"
L.A. spent a significant part of the last two periods killing penalties, including a key 5-on-3 for 1:41 by St. Louis. The last half of the game also featured numerous scrums and rough play to make for a disjointed game.
"It took a lot of guys out of the with all the penalty kills," Jeff Carter said. "But in the playoffs, when you win a game, that's all that matters. We know there's areas that we need to improve on, but we'll do that in the next day and we'll be ready."
Carter ends streak: Somewhat lost in the opening period barrage was that Carter ended a nine-game playoff goal-scoring drought, dating to Game 3 of last season's quarterfinals when he was with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Carter scored his first goal of this postseason when his initial shot hit a Blues player and his second whack at it went in for his first goal since March 20.
"A bit of a relief," Carter said. "I've been gripping my stick a little tight but I've been getting my chances the last few games and feeling better every game, so hopefully I can keep it going."
Carter has played through a sore ankle since the quarterfinals and suggested he wasn't fully healed from it yet.
"It's getting better," he said.
Different routine: Sutter has decided to change up the routine for Game 3 on Thursday by having the morning skate at Staples Center instead of the team's practice facility, which is about 30 minutes from downtown Los Angeles.
The Kings are among the few teams that practice at separate venues, partly because Staples Center also hosts Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers games.
"We haven't done it this year and with a noon game on Sunday, that has a big impact on it," Sutter said. "If we can get settled in and do that once and do it again [it would help]."