Down 3-0, Kings still have faith

'You can't win four unless you win one. You can't look past that.' - Kings forward Mike Richards.

Rocky Widner

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Coming back from a 3-0 playoff deficit is not impossible. Just four years ago, Kings forward Mike Richards helped the Philadelphia Flyers accomplish the feat for only the third time in NHL history. 

Now, Richards is being called upon to utilize that experience to lead the Kings to the same historic feat, as they face a possible elimination by the San Jose Sharks Thursday night at Staples Center.

"I think as a group, you just have to know that one, it’s not going to be easy, and two, it is possible," Richards, the captain of the 2009-10 Flyers team said Wednesday afternoon after the Kings practiced at the Toyota Sports Center. "Anything is possible. If you’re still playing hockey, you still have a chance. You just can’t look at the mountain and expect to do it all at once."

The key to overcoming the deficit might sound cliche — take it one game at a time — but should the Kings begin to look ahead, it becomes mentally daunting. But just one single win can build enough momentum to earn another.

"It’s a process just to put games together, put shifts together and it starts with Thursday night," Richards said. "You can’t win four unless you win one. You can’t look past that. Just take it one game at a time. We’ve gone through stretches this year where we’ve won four games in a row and this is going to be no different."

It was Richards’ brilliant play that helped the Flyers win four straight to knock off the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Richards scored a goal and five points in the final four games in the series. He kept his team together when all of the odds were stacked against them and he sees similarities in both the Kings’ roster and situation they’re up against.

"We had a pretty resilient group that year. We made playoffs I think on the last day of the year. We had our backs against the wall and we knew they were in the same position and we battled back," Richards said. "And much like this group, we have a group that’s been together and a resilient group."

Much like the 2010 Flyers, the 2012 Kings weren’t expected to do much in the playoffs. But sleeping on the underdog, Richards said, can be dangerous.

"We’ve gone through a lot together, kind of the same thing a couple years ago, just getting in the playoffs and then doing something special," he said. "Even though it’s not the same year, it’s the same group and we have a resilient group here."

Although a part of that same Flyers team, Jeff Carter never got a chance to play in the against the Bruins. Out with a foot injury, he wasn’t activated until the Eastern Conference Finals.

But Carter was a key piece in the Kings’ 2012 Stanley Cup run, and while the more unusual suspects such as Jake Muzzin and Trevor Lewis made big contributions in the first two games, it’s guys like Carter, Richards, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and the other leaders of the team that need to step up and do exactly what their titles dictate — lead the team.

"We have to be desperate — we’re down 3-0," Carter said. "There is not time to sit back and wait for things to happen. You have to go out there and make them happen. If we don’t it’s going to be a long summer. So we need everyone on the same page tomorrow night."