LOS ANGELES--For anyone who was unclear on the concept of sarcasm, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty was there to translate Tuesday.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter was asked about Ducks goaltender John Gibson after a 4-3 loss Tuesday and responded in his usual manner, "He's the best goalie I've ever seen. I can't believe we got one by him."
Doughty, presented with that comment, smirked and said, "I'm sure that's a Darryl-ism."
Ah, but the fact that Gibson rated a dose of Sutter's dry sense of humor made it clear that the 21-year old rookie has become a problem to the Kings.
Before Monday's game the Kings brushed off questions about Gibson.
"For us, it's not about who is in goal," team captain Dustin Brown said. "It's about what we do."
What the Kings did was watch Gibson stop 39 of 42 shots, showing at times highlight-reel ferocity. It came on the heels of Gibson's performance in a 2-0 victory in Game 4, where he became the youngest goaltender to record a shutout in a playoff debut.
So the strategy seemed to shift Tuesday, from ignoring Gibson to downsizing his effect on the game.
"We know we can beat him," Doughty said. "We know he's a very good goalie. At the same time, they are good shot blockers. We need to get pucks by those guys."
Doughty admitted that, "We got a lot of shots last night and he made some big saves."
But, without being asked, Doughty declared his preference for Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.
"I'll take Quickie over him every day," Doughty said.
The Kings can solve this kid. How? That was addressed with traditional post-loss player-speak.
"We can get more bodies in front of him," Doughty said.
Ah, more traffic in front of the net.
"As good as he is, he is not impossible to beat," Doughty said.
On the other hand, there was Marian Gaborik's way of dealing with the Gibson question. Asked if he was tired of hearing about the Ducks' goaltender, Gaborik said, "Kind of." He paused for a second, then added to that statement, "Kind of, yes."
Gaborik scored two of the three goals against Gibson in Game 5.
Once more, with feeling
The Kings certainly expected questions about their possible demise in an elimination game. They either win Wednesday in Game 6 at Staples Center or go home. They faced elimination four times in the first round after losing the first three games to the San Jose Sharks.
Asked if the team was comfortable being in this situation, Doughty said, "In a way."
Doughty went on to explain, "There is actually too desperate that you can play. You run around trying to do too much and in return, you don't play your best game.
"Because we're comfortable, we know exactly how desperate to play."
A day without much to ask -- except how do you beat Gibson -- led to questions about defenseman Willie Mitchell, who skated Tuesday for the first time in two weeks. "I'm going for a skate too," Sutter said. Translation? "What are the chances if he's skating for the first time in two weeks?" Sutter said. ... The Kings have a 2-3 record in Staples Center since the playoffs began. They beat San Jose in Games 4 and 6 at Staples after losing the first three games of that series.
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