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KING NOTES

No Defense for Collapse, Team Says

April 13, 2001|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

DETROIT — A day after a 5-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series, the Kings found themselves answering all sorts of questions about their resiliency going into Saturday's Game 2 at Joe Louis Arena.

"It's a best-of-seven series and we weren't expecting to take four straight games from them," winger Adam Deadmarsh said. "We just got caught in situations that cost us goals. Maybe we weren't as smart as we can be defensively. Maybe we can't give up as many shots from 10 feet out. Defensively, all five guys have to work together or it's going to be ugly."

It was ugly at times Wednesday.

The Kings left goaltender Felix Potvin to fend for himself on each of the Red Wings' first three goals. Two goals came as a result of tap-ins from point-blank range and a third was off a breakaway after a King misplay in the neutral zone.

Potvin shouldered some of the blame Thursday.

"I've got to find a way to stop them," he said. "My job is to stop every one of their shots. If you look at the first period, if I stop one or two, maybe it's a different game."

Defenseman Mathieu Schneider placed the blame for the loss on the Kings' lack of execution in the opening period.

"I thought we did everything the opposite of what we wanted to do," Schneider said. "We came out soft and took bad penalties. It was frustrating because we didn't play the way we wanted to."

Coach Andy Murray said he and his assistants could come up with the names of only seven players they believed played well Wednesday.

"I thought Nelson Emerson was outstanding," Murray said. "He's our smallest forward and he was the guy taking the puck to the net harder than anybody. I thought Adam Deadmarsh was very good. Just to name two."

Murray said he had a sense during the game that "we were just letting it happen to us and accepting it. . . . There were no gimmicks last night. They played harder than we did. I'm impressed with the Red Wings. I know a lot of their guys. Obviously, I'm impressed by them, but I'm not in awe of them.

"I just want to beat them."

*

Murray discounted the notion that Wednesday's game was the sort that showed how much the Kings missed the versatility of defenseman Rob Blake, who was traded Feb. 21 to the Colorado Avalanche.

"We had Rob Blake last year and we lost four straight [to Detroit]," Murray said. "There isn't a team in this league that couldn't use Rob Blake. We could have used a few more of our guys playing at the tops of their games."

*

Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, sidelined for Game 1 because of temporary nerve damage in his left leg, said he could have played Wednesday. But Visnovsky was advised by team medical personnel to rest for a few more days. He skated Thursday and is expected to play in Game 2.

*

The Kings haven't held a lead in losing five consecutive playoff games to the Red Wings, including four last season. Remarkably, the Kings have had only two leads during their 13-game postseason losing streak, which dates to Game 2 of the 1992-93 Stanley Cup finals against the Montreal Canadiens.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Kings vs. Red Wings

Detroit leads series, 1-0

GAME 1

at Detroit 5, Kings 3

GAME 2

Saturday at Detroit, 10 a.m.

GAME 3

Sunday at KINGS, 8:30 p.m.

GAME 4

Wednesday at KINGS, 7:30 p.m.

GAME 5

April 21 *at Detroit, noon

GAME 6

April 23 *at KINGS, 7:30 p.m.

GAME 7

April 25 *at Detroit, 4 p.m.

* if necessary

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