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Sports

Kings draw on coach's sayings to forge ahead

Los Angeles KingsWillie MitchellSt. Louis BluesAnaheim DucksStaples CenterSidney Crosby

Little by little, the Kings are starting to adopt some of the speech patterns of a certain Canadian.

Some, but not all of Coach Darryl Sutter's favorite sayings.

"Park it and move on, right? As Darryl says," Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell said Sunday morning. "Park and ride, right? I think he said it best is that we've done that since he's been here with games we've won. And I think you've got to do that with games you lose."

After their performance in a 2-1 loss to Calgary on Saturday, the Kings will have to park and ride with uncommon speed. They had an optional practice Sunday and will play games on consecutive nights against conference powers, the St. Louis Blues and the Ducks.

First up are the Blues on Monday at Staples Center. They are 18-4-3, good for fourth spot in the Western Conference. Then the Kings travel to Anaheim to play the third-place Ducks (18-7-4). Motivation won't be an issue against the Blues.

"I don't know why but our team has played well playing against good teams," Mitchell said. "Playing against St. Louis, I'm not really concerned [about effort]. I think we're going to put forth our best effort. I'm not saying win or lose, but I know we're going to have an effort there and we're going to play a really good hockey game against St. Louis.

"That's always been our team. We've always found a way to rise to the challenge against good teams."

Mitchell, one of the team's primary penalty killers, had to answer questions when the Kings struggled in that department this season. Now the power play has hit a prolonged skid, going 0 for 18 in the last in five games. That's not Mitchell's department, of course, but he did have some pertinent observations.

"It's the ebb and flow of the season," Mitchell said. "You talk to any player, it doesn't matter whether it's Kopi [Anze Kopitar] or [Sidney] Crosby, a third-line, fourth-line guy … Pucks are going in for you and then next thing you know, it dries up. The power play is no different at times.

"There were times when it was cooking. It was cooking during this last stretch, at opportune times. Sometimes you hit a little patch where it doesn't go as well and it comes back. The personnel we have out there it's just a matter of time. ... Sometimes if you dwell on that too much and forget about what makes you good, then sometimes it can get away from you and you dig yourself a hole and stay in it a little bit longer."

TONIGHT

VS. ST. LOUIS

On the air: TV: Fox Sports West. Radio: 1150.

Etc.: One of the best stories around the league is the breakout season by Blues forward Alex Steen, at 29 no less. He ranks among the league leaders in goals and points. His 20 goals are second to the 21 by Washington's Alex Ovechkin.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Twitter: @reallisa

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Los Angeles KingsWillie MitchellSt. Louis BluesAnaheim DucksStaples CenterSidney Crosby
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