EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Everyone, including the Kings themselves, knew going in that the Rangers were the faster team in the Stanley Cup Final.
The good news for the Rangers: That still will be the case come Game 2 Saturday night.
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The bad news: The bigger, slower Kings believe they will be significantly less slow after two days of rest at home after their 3-2 overtime victory Wednesday night.
Both after the game and during an off-day session with reporters Thursday, several players and coach Darryl Sutter attributed the Kings' sluggish start in Game 1 -- which the Rangers led 2-0 -- to the lingering hangover from Game 7 against the Blackhawks on Sunday in Chicago.
Sutter said he was wary of how the Final might begin for his team. "Obviously, with the turnaround, guys are not machines," he said. "It was an emotional series against Chicago, and Game 7. You know, you play seven games, you're actually playing three overtime periods in there, so when you add that in there, you're close to eight games when it's all said and done.
"It was tough, and then we got home in the middle of the night and had the whole media day [Tuesday] and had to practice in the afternoon, which is not their normal schedule. Hopefully this'll recharge us a little bit."
Said center Jeff Carter, "We didn't have our legs, I think, from the puck drop . . . They were throwing pucks to the net from everywhere and it seemed like we were just kind of standing around watching them."
Many of the Rangers' chances, including their first goal from Benoit Pouliot, were generated in part by their speed, which led to breakaways and near-breakaways.
Sutter tried to wake up his team by shaking up his lines, and eventually it paid off. By the third period, the Kings were flying, outshooting the Rangers 20-3 in the period.
The fact that the tired team that showed up for the first period found a way to tap its energy reserves and look like the fresher team down the stretch was in keeping with a spring-long pattern for the Kings.
Some have likened them -- affectionately -- to "cockroaches" for their dogged refusal to retreat.
But as pleased as they are to have that sort of fortitude -- and to have a 1-0 lead in the series -- they said the point is not to pull off dramatic rallies but rather to avoid the need for them in the first place.
When someone asked captain Dustin Brown what was being talked about on the bench after the Rangers scored their second goal, he said, "We're very comfortable with any situation we're in as a group, but it has been said more than enough: Enough's enough."
Said Sutter: "You don't get any award for 'resilient.' So we can play a lot better, and it's way better when you're not chasing the lead."
Especially when they know that given the speed disparity, they often will be chasing Rangers down the ice.