Ahead of Game 2, Kings say they ‘learned our lesson dearly last game’

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Last Thursday night now seems like it was ages ago.

The Kings have had three days off and were able to skate twice at home at the Toyota Sports Center. Now back at the SAP Center for Sunday night’s second game against San Jose, the disastrous game 1 is fully behind them.

"We learned our lesson dearly last game and we need to play our style of hockey," said Kings’ defenseman Willie Mitchell.

The late season schedule did the Kings no favors. While Los Angeles did have to face a few playoff teams in Minnesota and Anaheim, their final Canada swing was against teams out of the playoff race, allowing the team to coast and get somewhat stale going into the playoffs.

"No disrespect but down the stretch, we were kind of stuck in a position," Mitchell said. "Played some hockey clubs that were in the bottom part of the league and kind of out of it. Not really the in-your-face style of game from playoff time."

The last game was uncharacteristic for a disciplined, defensive team. They didn’t play as a cohesive unit and they didn’t play to their strengths. The theme of game 2 is going to be efficiency.

"We played a real loose hockey game where we weren’t connected as a group," Mitchell said. "You can just feel it around here, guys are in a better place and ready to go and you’ll probably see, well I know you’ll see a much, much better effort from our hockey club."

Other morning skate notes:

— If head coach Darryl Sutter decides to change any of the lineups it will be a game time decision. There hasn’t been any line changes or changes to the defensive combinations in the last couple practices.

— Establishing the forecheck and possessing the puck is going to be key to asserting more dominance in game 2. Sutter is looking for the Kings to eliminate the turnovers and play to their game — a gritty, defensive game.

"We’re not going to, quite honest, beat San Jose trying to score four goals, that’s for sure." Sutter said. "I think hang on to (the puck). We had a good start to the last game, and really we made a bad change in the last minute and two of our guys turned pucks over within about five feet for two goals, so that was really the difference in the game."

— The Sharks were one of the best home teams in the league and there’s no real secret to causing a team to struggle on their home ice.

"You’re starting on the road and you’re in a building where it’s one of the best teams in the league at home, so it’s not going to be easy," Sutter said. "You ain’t gonna to steal it, that’s for sure, and you ain’t going to surprise nobody. So you better be prepared to just line up and make sure you play really well."