Kings' Drew Doughty explains confrontation in Game 4
Deadlines and a longer-than-usual game Thursday prevented me from staying downstairs to hear Coach Terry Murray’s remarks after the Kings' 6-3 loss to the Sharks in Game 4 of their playoff series, but something jumped out at me later when I saw the postgame quote sheet that is compiled by the Kings’ media relations staff.
Murray was quoted as saying Sharks fourth-line center Scott Nichol was “the reason that they won,” a reference to a confrontation between Nichol and Kings defenseman Drew Doughty that sent both players to the penalty box at 3:14 of the second period. San Jose scored twice with the teams skating four on four, and Murray saw that as the pivotal moment of the game.
Doughty said Friday he knew he shouldn’t have risen to Nichols’ bait but offered a reasonable explanation.
“That’s really not the right tradeoff at all, but my emotions are running high. He tried to knee me, so I was upset about that, and then he knocked out my teeth and I was upset about that too,” said Doughty, opening his mouth to show off two sawed-off bottom teeth.
“That was the turning point of the game, and they got two goals when I was in the box,” he said. “I was upset but I can’t be doing that. I got to realize that maybe if it’s a guy like [Dan] Boyle or [Joe] Thornton or something like that it’s a better tradeoff. But Nichol’s a fourth-line center and not playing a lot of minutes and my team needs me and I can’t be in the box.”
“It definitely shouldn’t be. We’ve got to look past that,” Doughty said. “It is somewhat my fault for going in the box but the guys, I don’t think their play dropped because of me. I don’t think that was the sole reason. They got a lucky bounce on that first goal, and that’s kind of where we dropped off. Our hopes kind of diminished and we can’t do that. We’ve got to continue to play hard and even if they get that one lucky bounce we’ve got to keep going, keep going and try to get it back.”
Doughty also said the Kings haven’t lost their belief in themselves despite knowing that a loss Saturday will end their season.
“I still think we are fully confident,” he said. “We saw the things we could do to them. We had moments of domination. We’ve just got to clean up our [defensive] zone. I think if we clean that up and really focus on that and keep getting goals the way we are we’re going to be fine.”
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-- Helene Elliott, in San Jose
Photo: Drew Doughty controls the puck during a game against the Dallas Stars on April 2. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / U.S. Presswire