Carter: Kings' fight forged in stretch run

Ex-Flyers Mike Richards, 10 above, and Jeff Carter, below, scored in the Kings' 5-2 win over St. Louis on Monday, giving Los Angeles a two-games-to-none lead.
Ex-Flyers Mike Richards, 10 above, and Jeff Carter, below, scored in the Kings' 5-2 win over St. Louis on Monday, giving Los Angeles a two-games-to-none lead. (CHRIS LEE / St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Posted: May 03, 2012

 Jeff Carter realizes how smooth the Los Angeles Kings' 6-1 run through the postseason must look.

The former Flyer knows most people don't realize how the Western Conference's eighth seeds had to grind, scratch and scrape just to get a chance to look so good.

"The last month of the regular season, we were playing playoff hockey," Carter said Tuesday after the Kings returned from consecutive victories over the Blues in St. Louis to open their second-round series.

"We had to fight just to get in, and once you get in, anything can happen with how close the teams are," he added. "An eight seed doesn't really mean anything once you're in. Anything can happen. That month before the playoffs started has helped us. We just kept rolling the way we've been playing. It's good."

Anze Kopitar scored twice and Carter and Mike Richards, another ex-Flyer, had a goal apiece in a four-goal, first-period blitz as the Kings embarrassed the Blues from the opening faceoff on Monday. The 5-2 whipping was their fifth straight road win this postseason, including blowing out top-seeded Vancouver in the opening round.

Yet the Kings know it's not nearly as simple as it looked in St. Louis. Kopitar believes there's no chance of overconfidence in Game 3 against the powerful Blues when they return to Staples Center, where Los Angeles has lost six of its last seven postseason games.

"They can turn it around pretty quick," Kopitar said.

Terse Tortorella

New York Rangers coach John Tortorella clearly disdains the media gatherings he is required to hold as his top-seeded club faces the Washington Capitals in an Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Tortorella's answers were brief, pointed, and presented with a bite Monday night after New York's 3-2 loss in Game 2 to Washington evened the best-of-seven series. That tone continued on Tuesday.

After New York held an optional practice before hopping a train to Washington for Games 3 and 4 of the series, Tortorella was asked why he takes an adversarial approach with reporters who continue to prod him for information.

"I'm not going to give you much information," he said. "Some of you guys sit here and tell me I'm curt. . . . I'm sorry I'm not a guy that wants to converse about everything during the playoffs. I'm not."

Tortorella wouldn't comment on the status of injured Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky, who has missed two straight games.

"I'm not going to give you updates on lineups or injuries, so let's just move right by that," Tortorella said.

How about his decision to switch up his lines?

"There was a number of different things I was trying to do," he said. But when asked if he would share those, the answer was a terse, "No."

He even cut off a question about being a finalist for coach of the year. Tortorella said the time to ask about that was on Monday, when it was announced he was among the top three in votes.

Predators suspend two

The Nashville Predators, who already faced a tough challenge returning home, down 0-2 to the Phoenix Coyotes in their Western Conference semifinal, have suspended forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn for Game 3 for violating unspecified team rules.

- Inquirer wire services

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