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Kings are not taking 3-0 series lead against Phoenix for granted

L.A. forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards know it's not impossible for a team to overcome such a deficit. They played for Philadelphia, which rallied from a 3-0 hole to beat Boston in 2010.

May 19, 2012|By Chris Foster
  • Phoenix's Boyd Gordon, left, and Kings center Mike Richards face off during the first period of Thursday's playoff game.
Phoenix's Boyd Gordon, left, and Kings center Mike Richards face… (Harry How / Getty Images )

The Kings are headed to the Stanley Cup finals. It's a foregone conclusion, up 3-0 in the Western Conference finals. It is nearly impossible for the Phoenix Coyotes to come back at this point.

The Kings, though, remain wary. They don't have to stray from their dressing room to find a couple of guys who did the near impossible.

Forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards helped the Philadelphia Flyers rally from a 3-0 deficit to eliminate the Boston Bruins in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Flyers were the third NHL team to overcome a 3-0 series deficit, joining the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders. The Flyers reached the 2010 Stanley Cup finals, where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Richards wasn't in a sharing mood. How the Flyers came back was need-to-know-info, and he seemed to think the Coyotes didn't need to know it.

Asked what they did to pull off the miracle, Richards said, "I forget." Asked again, he said, "I'm not sure I want to give out too much information."

Richards did reveal that, "cliches happened" in 2010, "you go shift by shift, period by period."

Carter was less guarded, saying that the key is momentum.

"You really got nothing to lose," Carter said. "You go play and see what happens. We got the first win, the confidence built. Then we got the second one and you started to think, 'We can really do this.' "

The Kings, at this point, should know how to handle a 3-0 series lead. They won the first three games in the two previous series against Vancouver and St. Louis, though they did lose Game 4 to Vancouver.

Said Richards: "We have to guard against complacency and taking the situation for granted. We know the opportunity we have as a team. To do this on home ice would be something we would want, but that doesn't mean it's going to be easy."

Men about town?

As the Kings' bandwagon fills up, Kings players are getting attention from those beyond their niche fan base.

"From what I hear, Kings fever is pretty high right now," forward Anze Kopitar said.

As to whether that included the traditional front-runner ploy of having a car flag, Kopitar said, "I've spotted a couple, nothing too crazy yet. Compared to years past, there are people actually knowing something hockey related is going on in this town."

Forward Dustin Brown said players are getting recognized more these days.

"All the die-hard fans know our names," Brown said. But, he said, "You run into guys who say, 'I'm a Kings fan, who are you?' "

Brown said, "Considering the history of the Kings, I think fans are real excited about this team. They haven't had much to cheer about over the history of the team."

Whether that will require players to dodge constant public scrutiny in the future, Kopitar said, "I don't think that will be the case. We're not in Canada."

Of course, Coach Darryl Sutter had his own take on Kings fever.

"I live in Manhattan Beach and go to L.A. for the games," Sutter said, smiling. "Manhattan Beach is a nice, quiet town."

Giddy up

Sutter, who coached Calgary to the 2004 Stanley Cup finals, was asked whether he was "giddy" about being so close again.

Giddy? There are statues that display more emotion than Sutter.

Fraser in

Forward Colin Fraser is expected to play in Game 4 after sitting out the previous two games while attending to a family matter. Kyle Clifford started the last two games.

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