EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Two days off between games meant two more days of analyzing a loss for the Los Angeles Kings, but at least they did so from home.
The Kings returned after a Game 1 loss to the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference First Round and there was something to be said for sleeping in their own beds and seeing their families before returning to San Jose for Game 2 on Sunday at SAP Center (10 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NBCSN, FS-W, CSN-CA).
"To be honest, there's not a whole lot going on in downtown San Jose," Anze Kopitar said. "It was nice to come back here and get away from the circus that is going on [in the hockey world]. Just getting away a little bit, you feel comfortable around here. When you can sleep in your own bed for a couple of nights instead of hotel rooms, it's nice. Sometimes seeing your family and getting your mind away from everything helps."
Left wing Kyle Clifford was especially grateful after he welcomed a son, Brody, to the family on Friday night.
The rivals know each other well and defenseman Drew Doughty agreed that Game 2 should be more representative of each team.
"I think it's going to be a completely different game," Doughty said. "It's going to be tighter. It's going to be the team that plays the harder, better game than [the] team that capitalizes on their scoring chances because I don't think too many teams will be giving up too much. And when they do, both goalies are making big saves. It's just going to have to come down to capitalizing and who's hungrier."
The Kings did take note of the gamesmanship in Game 1, specifically Sharks right wing Mike Brown running into goalie Jonathan Quick in the opening minutes. Los Angeles was credited with 69 hits and San Jose 52.
"I think they're trying to run a lot of our top players," Doughty said. "I know me personally, they were running me every chance they had. They were finishing me way after I moved the puck. They were doing the same to [Kopitar], and actually they did the same to [Quick], running him right off the bat. That's obviously in their game plan. I think our top guys need to be ready for that and, at the same time, we need to be giving it to their top guys."
Los Angeles spent a good portion of its Saturday practice on breakouts and puck retrieval. The Kings had uncharacteristic turnovers that led to odd-man rushes in Game 1 and need to take better care of their possessions.
Quick's defense didn't give him much help, but he also didn't have his best game. His history suggests he will have a strong rebound performance. Quick allowed four or more goals six times in the regular season, and in the subsequent games he allowed three, one, zero, one, one and two goals.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter unsurprisingly didn't offer much insight on any topic and grumbled one-word answers in his media session. Kopitar did notice how the Sharks defended his line, and that will be a point of emphasis in Game 2.
"I think in Game 1, our line got spread out a little too much," Kopitar said. "We got caught swinging away instead of just supporting, so we've been working on that the last couple of days a little bit. We've got to carry that into the game tomorrow."