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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kings rule Game 2's

Have been dominant first three rounds

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NEWARK, N.J. -- Another day and another 1-0 lead in a playoff series for the Los Angeles Kings.

Come Sunday they want that to read 2-0 and if the history of this post-season means anything, that's exactly what will transpire.

Despite starting every playoff series in this post-season on the road the Kings have won every opener and then gone on to be even more dominant in Game 2's. Coach Darryl Sutter wasn't interested in exploring why the Kings have been better in the second games of the previous three rounds.

"I don't know prior. I'm only looking ahead. I think it's a funny setup again, between Game 1 and Game 2, we only played one game in four days since we got here. That's how it was going to be," said Sutter. "So now it's get ready for Saturday. It's not about what happened, who we played last time, anything like that. I think we know our opponent is a lot tougher than anyone we played yet. Going into Wednesday night, I think they were, what, 6-2, something like that, in home games. I think we know what the challenge will be on Saturday."

Kings forward Jeff Carter agrees with his coach.

"We weren't our best and I don't think they were as good as they've been as well," said Carter. "I expect them to be a lot better in Game 2 and we're going to have to try and match that."

There's been some talk that the Kings saw Game 1 as their worst of the playoffs.

"I thought we had a good start to the game. We did a good job in the first period based on New Jersey, the way they've played in first periods in the playoffs. We knew that was going to be a challenge for us," said Sutter. "With the travel, our guys felt sluggish. Obviously an area we can get better at. We'll use Friday's practice for that. You know, our guys said today they felt sluggish. If that was nervous, then so it was. Our guys felt they could play better. That's a good thing. I'm sure the other team is saying the same thing, too."

Sutter turned to his fourth line and got a goal from Colin Fraser off a nice play from Jordan Nolan in the first period, and then kept using them.

"I think when you have time off, it's interesting from a coaching standpoint. You think you can shorten your bench because guys are fresher. But really when you have time off, the first thing I could see (Wednesday) night, we did have some sluggish guys, and it was at the top end of our skill set in terms of players," said Sutter. "It doesn't bother me to play (the fourth line). I don't call them our fourth line, I call it Colin Fraser and whoever is playing with him. So if they're on, they can play against anybody.

"If you look at it, the goal (Wednesday night) was against (Travis) Zajac's line. I'm confident with whoever is playing with Fraser, as long as they're doing the job.

"There's nights where maybe the other team is playing their top line or their top two lines more and you've got to be careful. But at the same time, it's still about performance and the quality play. (Wednesday) night it worked out."

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 1, 2012 C2

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