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On The Brink Of Elimination, LA Kings Must Figure Out That It’s Not Just About Themselves

LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.

ANAHEIM AND LOS ANGELES, CA — After taking a 2-0 lead in their second round playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks, the Los Angeles Kings have dropped three straight games, and face elimination tonight when they host the Ducks in Game 6 at Staples Center in Los Angeles (6:30 PM PDT; televised on NBCSN in the United States; TSN and RDS in Canada).

What has been surprising about the Kings so far in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs is that the best defensive team in the regular season has been anything but in the post-season.

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For LA Kings, Fixing The Initial Problem Should Take Care Of The Rest Of’Em

LA Kings forward Jeff Carter (left), shown here after scoring a power play goal during his team’s 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in playoff action on Thursday, May 10, 2014, at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — As the Los Angeles Kings filed into their dressing room after their 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of their second round playoff matchup on May 8, they knew exactly why they lost.

Sloppy puck management in their own zone led to turnovers, and wide gaps on breakouts, which led to poor passing, and eventually, great difficulty in generating a forecheck and quality scoring chances.

Kings center Mike Richards indicated that indeed, poor puck management created a cascade of other problems.

That brings to mind the old children’s song, ’Dem Dry Bones.

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Jeff Schultz Puts In Solid Performance In Fill-In Role For LA Kings

AUDIO INTERVIEWS: Listen to post-game audio of interviews with Dustin Brown, Alec Martinez, Jeff Schultz, head coaches Darryl Sutter and Bruce Boudreau. Also listen to the pre-game press conference with National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman.


LA Kings defenseman Jeff Schultz

ANAHEIM, CA — With veteran, stay-at-home defensemen Willie Mitchell and Robyn Regehr unavailable due to injury, the Los Angeles Kings were forced to turn to a player who had not played in a National Hockey League game since March 31, 2013, when he was with the Washington Capitals.

Along the same lines, the Kings turned to a player who spent the entire season (aside from a couple of brief recalls to the Kings; he did not play) with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League.

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2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Los Angeles Kings Are Really Offensive

LA Kings defenseman Alec Martinez (foreground center)

EL SEGUNDO, CA — As the Los Angeles Kings prepared for tonight’s Game 2 of their second round playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks, they knew that despite winning Game 1, they must play considerably better than they did, if they expect to win Game 2, let alone advance to the Western Conference Finals.

In Game 1, the Kings found themselves hemmed into their own zone by the Ducks for extended periods, much of that caused by their own mistakes.

“I thought our puck management wasn’t great,” said right wing Justin Williams. “I didn’t think our forecheck was great. I think all around, everyone has areas to improve on and myself, personally, also.”

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