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Kings shrug off Game 4 loss to Ducks, Gibson

by Curtis Zupke

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings met earlier than usual for an off day Sunday morning, but it was not a back-to-the-drawing-board session. The Kings were the better team for most of a 2-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 4 of the Western Conference Second Round.

That's probably why coach Darryl Sutter was at his sarcastic best in making a reference to the television show "M*A*S*H" when asked if the Kings are rattled by playing well and losing.

"Yeah, I'm not rattled," Sutter said. "I'm just thankful I'm alive. I'm fortunate to pull through after a devastating loss last night. Radar and Hawkeye had to get me up to come here today."

The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied at 2-2 with Game 5 on Monday at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS). Sutter and his players did admit they faulted on special teams, which was a glaring difference in the Game 4 loss.

Los Angeles went 0-for-4 on the power play and is 2-for-12 for the series. It struggled to get set up in Anaheim's zone for at least two of those four tries, and it seemed to kill their energy immediately afterward.

"It's there to kind of give us momentum," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "If we don't score a goal, [it should] at least get us that momentum, and we failed to do that. The guys that are on the power play are our top players, and guys in that situation should take advantage of it, and we didn't do a good job of that in the first [period]."

A lack of power-play punch is not new for the Kings, who finished 27th with the man advantage in the regular season. But they went 6-for-24 in a seven-game first-round series against the San Jose Sharks and led the NHL with 34 total goals through Saturday.

"I think our power play is just being too cute right now," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "It's looking for a better play as opposed to just getting it to the net and getting bodies to the net. A couple of times we got shots on goal and there was no one in front. Good power plays just put it to the net."

There is another variable in the equation: Anaheim rookie goalie John Gibson, 20, who became the youngest in NHL history to record a shutout in his playoff debut. It was the first time the Kings were shut out in the postseason since May 20, 2012, a streak of 34 games.

Los Angeles was unable to penetrate Gibson despite outshooting Anaheim 19-3 over the final two periods. Sixteen of the Kings' 34 goals have been scored in the third period or overtime.

The Kings didn't expect to get help by studying more film of Gibson, who will start Game 5 according to Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. Los Angeles could ask its call-ups from the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League about Gibson, who faced them in the Calder Cup playoffs, but it's the same strategy.

"From what I've heard, he's a really good goaltender," Kings forward Mike Richards said. "You have to get bodies in front of him. If he sees the puck, he's going to stop it. We have to make his life a little more difficult and, hopefully, get some more bodies and pucks to the net and get some second cracks at it. When we did that last night, we had some opportunities. When we didn't, we were one and done."

Sutter said jokingly he would spend Mother's Day watching film of Gibson. He phoned his mother, Grace, perhaps the most famous hockey mom around.

"But she was in church," Sutter said. "I should have known. That's the thing I told the players: Make sure they talk to their moms or a mother in their life today."

Sutter did seriously address the Kings losing one of their finer defensive games of the playoffs.

"We're going to have to be better at getting pucks to the net," forward Jarret Stoll said. "And they've got goaltenders that can play, obviously. So do we though. We feel good about our team. Obviously we didn't get the results the last couple of games at home, which is disappointing, but you move on. It's pretty nice outside today. The sun came up. It's Mother's Day and my mom is here, so it will be a good off day and get ready for the game."

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