|Kings re-focus after back-to-back losses|
|Written by Denis Gorman|
|Tuesday, 12 June 2012 02:06|
One win away from the Stanley Cup, the Los Angeles Kings realized that they had begun to look past the New Jersey Devils. Back-to-back losses helped refocus the team, however.The Los Angeles Kings entered Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night by acknowledging that the Western Conference Champions had become carried away.
It is human nature to visualize the 'what-ifs,' especially after jumping out to a three games to none series lead.
But consecutive losses to the New Jersey Devils have caused the Kings to realize that the Cup is not awarded after three wins.
"I think the mindset has to be – or is – the same thing as when a series starts: to try to win the game [and] not getting further than that," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said during his media availability Monday. "Then it becomes a distraction or outside distraction."
Like, say, friends and family members requesting tickets for a Championship-clinching game in a city that was expecting its first Cup, which Drew Doughty noted during the Kings' press conference Sunday afternoon had become an issue before Game 4.
"I think that's the key," Sutter added. "That's something we've been able to do really well."
The Devils have been awash in praise for forcing Game 6 after falling behind 0-3.
Yet for a proud franchise with a rich championship tradition, they recognize their two wins did not accomplish anything other than extending their season.
"We're a lot closer to what we want to accomplish than we were a couple games back,” Patrik Elias said Monday morning in Los Angeles. “After being down 3-0, you
really don't have anything to lose in regards. You just go out and try to do your best.
"We know obviously that we can beat these guys and we do want to accomplish that. That can be very dangerous. This is the time when you have to kind of take a step back and relax. Just play the same way we played the last two games.
Elias also added that the Devils can’t play outside of their system since they know it will be difficult to win.
"We just have to make sure that we're playing within our structure, that we don't get too worked up [or] too loose in our minds that this is going to be easy," Elias said. "This is going to be the toughest one."
The Edmonton Oilers announced Monday that Craig MacTavish has been hired as the Senior Vice-President of Hockey Operations.
MacTavish won three Cups with the Oilers as a player. He coached the team for eight seasons between 2000-01 and 2008-09 and compiled a regular season record of 301-252-103. Under his stewardship, the Oilers reached Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2005-06.
He worked for TSN for two years and spent last season coaching the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League (Vancouver Canucks affiliate). The Wolves finished the regular season with a 42-27-7 record.
Johan Sundstrom agreed to a three-year, entry level deal with the New York Islanders on Monday.
The forward was the 50th overall pick in last year's draft. He recorded 11 points in 49 games for Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League during the 2011-12 season. Sundstrom played in six games for Gold Medal-winning Sweden in the World Junior Hockey Championship. He finished with five points and was plus-five.
You can follow us on Twitter at @hockeyprimetime and @DenisGorman