Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 3/27/12
The Kings aren't so arrogant to think that they're going to dominate a game for a full 60 minutes. There will be lulls. The key, though, during this ultra-tight playoff race, is managing those lulls. Two recent games illustrate this. Against St. Louis last week, the Kings were badly outplayed in the first period, but didn't allow a goal and eventually won the game in a shootout. Two days later, the Kings struggled in the second period, allowed a short-handed goal and never led in a loss to Boston. "For the most part, the last few games, we've controlled the game for long stretches of the game, but you have to expect push-backs from teams, especially when you play good teams," Kings D Willie Mitchell said. "You play Boston, you play St. Louis, and going into Vancouver, you expect a push-back. You're not going to dominate the whole 60 and carry the play. "When there's a push-back, (the key is) to bend but not break, and then make sure we're good defensively when they have situations where they're applying some pressure. You weather that and push back and continue to move forward, 'weather that' -- meaning not let any goals in." How would Monday's game against Vancouver go? The Canucks entered the game as one of the best first-period teams in the NHL, with an overall scoring margin of plus-30 in the first 20 minutes this season. It played out as expected. The Canucks scored an early first-period goal and the Kings put forth a third-period push but Vancouver held on for a 1-0 win. NOTES, QUOTES Power play struggling in last 5 games --The Kings had been on a good run of late, with four wins in the previous five games entering Monday. That was the good news. The bad news was that the Kings scored only one power-play goal in that span. An improved power play was a major reason why the Kings started scoring more goals this month, and coach Darryl Sutter knows the power play can't afford to go into a late-season slumber. "They've got to score. It's not just about generating opportunities. They've got to score. That's what it's about," Sutter said. "Your power play has to be good and your penalty killing has to be good." --The season series between the Kings and the Vancouver Canucks couldn't have been much closer, as each team won two games and three of the four games were decided by one goal. Last season, the Kings went 2-2-0 against the Canucks. In 2009-10, the Canucks beat the Kings in six games in the first round of the playoffs. The teams, though, might not be done this season. The Canucks are in second place in the Western Conference and the Kings have been hovering around the seventh spot for the past couple weeks. QUOTE TO NOTE: "The first thing I tend to do, when I get on the bus or get home, is go on the app on my phone and see who is winning, who won and what the standings are like. I think everyone on the team is kind of scoreboard-watching. We're just controlling what we can do." -- Kings D Drew Doughty, on the tight playoff race. ROSTER REPORT PLAYER NOTES: --RW Justin Williams has been among the Kings' most productive players of late, with five goals and five assists in his last 11 games on the Kings' first line alongside LW Dustin Brown and C Anze Kopitar. That's not very surprising, given that Williams is one of the Kings' most veteran forwards and has a Stanley Cup on his resume, playing with Carolina. Williams said he enjoys the playoff race. "Sometimes you get into games that are big games, and you just play on emotion," Williams said. "That's just when the drive comes out. That's when the competitive athlete comes out in you, when there's big games. It just seems like it's easier to find energy for them." --G Jonathan Quick suffered another tough-luck loss, as he stopped 24 of 25 shots but suffered a shutout loss, as his counterpart, Vancouver G Roberto Luongo, stopped 37 shots. This is nothing particularly new for Quick. The Kings have been shut out 10 times this season, and in Quick's 32 losses, the Kings have scored a total of 39 goals. Also, 22 of Quick's 32 losses have been by one goal, and he has allowed the opponent one or zero goals in 24 games but has only a 15-5-4 record in those games. --D Willie Mitchell has been key, of late, in helping the Kings maintain their defensive identity. Under coach Darryl Sutter, the Kings have been attempting to open up their system more of late and take more chances in the offensive end. That increases the responsibilities on Mitchell, who arguably has been the Kings' best stay-at-home defenseman this season. The Kings have ranked in the top five in goals-against for most of this season, and Mitchell said the key for him and his teammates has been managing the neutral zone. "If I'm up on a guy, we need a forward coming through, supporting in the middle, and I need support from my D partner," Mitchell said. "It's all those things, just supporting the puck really, really well with groups of five. That's the number-one thing." MEDICAL WATCH: --Simon Gagne (concussion) was put on injured reserve on Dec. 28 and is out indefinitely. --Scott Parse (hip) was put on injured reserve on Nov. 9 and underwent surgery on Dec. 2. Parse will be out until at least early April and might be out for the season. GOALTENDERS: --Jonathan Quick. --Jonathan Bernier. DEFENSE PAIRINGS: --Rob Scuderi, Drew Doughty. --Willie Mitchell, Slava Voynov. --Alec Martinez, Matt Greene. FIRST LINE: --LW Dustin Brown, C Anze Kopitar, RW Justin Williams. SECOND LINE: --LW Dwight King, C Mike Richards, RW Jeff Carter. THIRD LINE: -- LW Dustin Penner, C Jarret Stoll, RW Trevor Lewis. FOURTH LINE: --LW Kyle Clifford, C Colin Fraser, RW Jordan Nolan.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Seahawks players feel Sherman bombshell story ‘nailed it’

Turkey: Kanter a member of terrorist group, issues warrant

Chad Johnson says Roger Goodell consulted him on touchdown celebration rule change

Kevin Durant is not to blame for the NBA’s lack of parity, and he knows it

Khloe Kardashian called out Cavs fan who mentioned ‘curse’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Warriors’ Mike Brown: Steve Kerr may be back for the Finals

Dodgers transfer Andrew Toles and Scott Kazmir to the 60-day disabled list

Looking back at 40 years of women racing in the Indianapolis 500

U.S. national soccer teams to wear LGBT-themed jerseys to celebrate pride month

Mike Zimmer: Teddy Bridgewater still has ‘long ways to go’

Report: Clippers concerned about Chris Paul leaving to sign with Spurs

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker