LOS ANGELES — In case you haven’t noticed, and by all indications, many still haven’t, or worse, refuse to do so, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin has taken some huge leaps forward, in terms of his play, during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
I wrote about that on May 23, explaining the reasons that the vast majority of criticism hurled at him is unwarranted (see Contrary To Popular Belief, LA Kings’ Jake Muzzin Is Becoming A Solid NHL Defenseman).
After that story was published, Muzzin went on to play what was, arguably, the best game of his career, earning the second star of the game in the Kings’ 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the 2014 Western Conference Final on May 26 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The win gave the Kings a 3-1 lead in the series. Their lead was cut to 3-2 after the Blackhawks won, 5-4, in a double overtime thriller in Game 5 on May 28, in Chicago.
Game 6 will be played on Friday, May 30, 6:00 PM PDT, at Staples Center.
After Game 4, not to mention the following day, Muzzin was one of the hot conversation topics around the team.
“I think you’ve always seen the potential in him,” forward Trevor Lewis told the media in Chicago on May 28. “He’s always been really, really skilled offensively. I think Drew [Doughty, who is paired with Muzzin], has helped him out a lot on the back end, talking to him, helping him out—video sessions, stuff like that. I think he really listens to Drew.”
“I think, like I said, he’s helped him out a lot,” Lewis added. “Hopefully, he just keeps getting better.”
Muzzin knows his game has improved, but he is also well aware that he still has a long way to go.
“It feels good to play well and contribute,” he beamed. “That’s what you want to do. You want to be a difference in the game.”
“It comes with experience, maturity and playing with confidence,” he added. “When you go through the [ups and downs during a season, especially the playoffs], you gain confidence from that. This is the result of it.”
“I have lots to get better at. Right now, it feels good, but we’ve got to win one more game to keep going.”
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