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Kings know they haven't won anything yet

They take a 2-0 series lead into Game 3, but they're not taking anything for granted.

April 14, 2012|By Lisa Dillman

The Kings were reaching into their therapeutic bag of tricks Saturday and coming up with several predictable ways of managing playoff success against Vancouver.

Just call it Project Reset.

With the Kings holding a 2-0 lead against the Canucks in this best-of-seven-game series — Game 3 is Sunday night at Staples Center — they were talking more about their shortcomings in the first two games in Vancouver, especially five-on-five, and used the word "reset" like a mantra.

No one needed to remind them of rapid-fire turnarounds in the playoffs. Boston lost the opening two games in the first round against Montreal last season and went on to win the Stanley Cup.

There have been wounds and scars close to home too. Two years ago, the Kings were within a period of taking a 3-1 series lead against the Canucks. But they lost Game 4 at home and were outscored 11-4 in the final two games.

"What we've learned is when you're up, they're going to be a desperate hockey club and we have to make sure we don't give them any life," the Kings' Anze Kopitar said after the team held an optional workout. "As soon as we have a chance to finish them off, we have to finish them off.

"We didn't do that two years ago, but I think everybody's learned from that."

The Kings have not won at home in the playoffs since Game 3 against the Canucks in 2010.

Said Kings captain Dustin Brown: "Historically, for this team in recent playoffs, we haven't played well at home. And it's important to draw attention to that and to understand that. We've done a good job getting two wins, but there's a lot of areas we can get better at."

Kings center Jarret Stoll was with the Edmonton Oilers when they were down 2-0 in the playoffs to the San Jose Sharks in 2006 and came back to win the series. Later, Edmonton railed from 2-0 and 3-1 holes to force a seventh game in the Stanley Cup finals, losing to the Carolina Hurricanes.

"I've played series when we were down, 2-0, and came back and won the next four," Stoll said. "It goes both ways. It's happened lots before. You can't be relaxed and take your foot off the gas because momentum changes very quickly and it changes quite often in a series."

Said the Canucks' Henrik Sedin to reporters in Vancouver: "If we were in a hole like this a couple of years back, I wouldn't have been as hopeful as I am right now. ... The first game, our discipline wasn't good enough and [Game 2], well, you all saw what happened on our power play."

That would be giving up two short-handed goals to the Kings' Brown. The Canucks' power play is 0 for 10 in the series.

The Canucks will try to climb out of the 2-0 deficit without star forward Daniel Sedin, who has been out because of a concussion since March 21 and did not travel to Los Angeles with the Canucks for Game 3.

One option in a search for momentum: Vancouver could make a change in goal, replacing Roberto Luongo with Cory Schneider for Game 3. Canucks Coach Alain Vigneault said Saturday afternoon he had decided on a starter but would not disclose his decision.

Not lost on the Kings is the fact the Canucks might be helped by getting away from the often-suffocating atmosphere in Vancouver, which is fueled by sky-high expectations.

"They have to deal with a lot more than we have to deal with," Brown said. "Just given the locale. The mentality there. I mean, it's Canada. So that's a heavy weight."

Injury updates

The Kings are expected to be without forward Kyle Clifford for Game 3, Coach Darryl Sutter said. Clifford, who suffered an upper-body injury in Game 1, has not resumed skating. Taking the ice, briefly, was Kings forward Brad Richardson, who had an emergency appendectomy on Monday night.

"I was feeling pretty rough," said Richardson, who credited his mother, Jan, who is a nurse, for diagnosing his condition. "I just felt some pain on Sunday and had some pain on my right side. ... I feel a lot better than I was. It's still pretty sore."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

Times staff writer Helene Elliott contributed to this report.

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