Saturday, February 17, 2018
Sports

Kings focus on game, not Cup

LOS ANGELES — The Kings already know there's no place like home ice for a coronation.

They've got a chance to lift the Stanley Cup at Staples Center again when they host the Rangers in Game 5 of the final tonight, giving the ultimate celebration to their long-suffering fans for the second time in three years.

But the Kings' memories of the night in June 2012 when they lifted the Cup for the franchise's first championship weren't a popular subject Thursday.

"It doesn't matter where you win the fourth (game of the series)," center Jarret Stoll said at the Kings' training complex. "This time of year, it's all about the result."

With the weary poise of a team that has already been through three seven-game series this spring, the Kings insisted they weren't bothered by their inability to finish a sweep of the Cup final in New York on Wednesday, losing Game 4 2-1. The Kings flew home right after the game, grabbed a few hours of sleep and focused on a having good start to Game 5, figuring it would lead to a Cup-winning finish.

The Kings are tired of having weak starts. The Rangers have taken 2-0 leads in three of the four games, forcing Los Angeles to play catch-up, something it does extraordinarily well but would prefer to skip tonight.

"We know we can do more, especially at the start of games," Stoll said. "That's going to be our focus going into Game 5."

Now that they're off the canvas, the Rangers realize they have ample reason to be comfortable at Staples Center, where they never trailed in their two series-opening overtime losses until the end.

"When you look back at the first three games in the series, I think we deserved a little better," Derick Brassard said.

"Sometimes it's funny how it goes. We're just pretty excited to still be here. We're going to try to steal a game and go back (home) for Game 6, and if we do, everything can happen."

Lightning: The team set its roster for its annual development camp, July 2-6 at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon, with forward Jonathan Drouin the headliner. Drouin, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, is expected to make an impact with Tampa Bay next season.

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, coming off his impressive performance at the world championship for Russia last month, also will participate, as will goalie Kristers Gudlevskis and 2012 first-round pick Slater Koekkoek. Also invited was Northeastern University goalie Clay Witt, a Brandon native who as a junior this year was a finalist for the Mike Richter Award (top college goalie).

Flyers: Vinny Lecavalier, who once again spent a season hampered by injuries and ended up being demoted to the fourth line, is a trade candidate, Canada's TSN network reported.

His agent, Kent Hughes, has talked to general manager Ron Hextall about a trade, the network said. Lecavalier, 34, has a no-move clause, so he would have to provide a list of teams to which he would be willing to go.

The Lightning bought out Lecavalier's contract last summer, and he signed a five-year, $22.5 million deal with Philadelphia.

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

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