Kings hangin' in

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:50 PM ET

A week ago the Los Angeles Kings were a dark horse contender, a team with enough weapons to strike fear in any first round opponent.

One broken ankle and one dislocated shoulder later, the horse just got a lot darker.

“Both those guys mean so much to the team,” said Jarret Stoll, as the Kings try to come to grips with injuries to Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams in a six day span. “It’s a big loss, for sure, but there’s nothing you can do about it.

“It can’t be an excuse, we just have to use it as a motivator, a rallying point to play better. One or two or three guys won’t be able to do the job, collectively as a unit we have to play much better defensively, get our power play clicking.”

It’s a pretty severe blow to a team that’s had little time to react. One minute they’re thinking about making a serious run in the post-season, now it’s everything they can do to keep from sinking down the Western Conference standings.

“We’re just trying to re-group and make sure that everyone knows how big these points are,” said Matt Greene. “Everybody around us is winning.”

While this hurts, Greene says they’re not changing their playoff goals.

“We have a confident group in here,” he said. “If you’re going to accomplish anything you have to believe in yourselves and I think we do. We believe that we can have a deep run here and create some problems for some other teams.”

“New guys can transform their careers, right here and now,” added Stoll. “You’ve all seen it, guys coming out of nowhere. Hopefully we can have that.”

For Stoll and Greene, both members of Edmonton’s 2006 Cinderella team, playing into May and June seems like a long, lost love.

“My first year in Edmonton I didn’t even know what we were doing at the time,” said Greene. “I had no idea how hard it was to get there. I just thought it happened every year.

“Now, after four years of the best we ever got was a first-round knockout, it gets that hunger and that drive back. You want to make sure everybody in this room knows how hard it’s going to be, and how rewarding it is when you do get there.”

robert.tychkowski@Sunmedia.ca

TWITTER.com/TYCHKOWSKI


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