With an early start Saturday for Game 3 of the Western Conference finals — puck drop is scheduled for 5:20 p.m. Pacific time — the Kings held their morning skate at 9:15 a.m. at Staples Center. The Blackhawks didn’t skate, keeping to their routine for early starts, but they are supposed to make Coach Joel Quenneville and some players available for interviews before the game.
The Kings’ skate was optional but many players took advantage of the ice time, with the notable exception of Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams, Marian Gaborik and Jeff Carter. Afterward, those who skated said they hope to capitalize on the energy of their fans Saturday night and lift the team’s home playoff record, now 3-3, above .500.
The Western Conference finals series is tied, 1-1, after the Kings scored six unanswered goals in a 6-2 victory on Wednesday in Game 2 in Chicago.
“It hasn’t been great, but we also won the games that we needed to,” center Anze Kopitar said. “I think it’s just a matter of focusing, having a sense of urgency and having a good start. It’s not going to be any different, really.
“I’m sure the building is going to be pretty loud, just like it always is. We just got to make sure we have a good start and build on that.”
He also said the 3-3 record accurately reflects the Kings’ postseason performances at home.
“We want to be better at home,” he said, “and it’s probably a good time to improve that record.”
Defenseman Alec Martinez also cited the importance of having a good start against the Blackhawks, who won their only regular-season game in Los Angeles this season and won Game 4 of the teams’ West finals here last season.
“That’s been big for us in these playoffs,” Martinez said. “We’ve got to focus on playing our game and hopefully feed off the crowd. We always got a good, loud one too, so I think the start is a big part of it.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun