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2014 NHL Western Conference Final Preview: LA Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar

ANAHEIM AND LOS ANGELES, CA — At this time one year ago, the Los Angeles Kings went into the Western Conference Final (WCF) against the Chicago Blackhawks a bruised, battered and banged up team, as several players continued to play despite having suffered injuries earlier in the playoffs.

To make matters worse, center Anze Kopitar was in the midst of a 34-game scoring slump, the longest drought of his National Hockey League career, and it could not have come at a worse time.

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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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LA Kings-Anaheim Ducks: It’s Still Early, But Anze Kopitar Is Winning The Matchup With Ryan Getzlaf

AUDIO INTERVIEWS: Listen to audio of May 6 interviews with Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Matt Greene, Jeff Schultz, and head coach Darryl Sutter.


LA Kings center Anze Kopitar
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

ANAHEIM AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — Heading into the second round playoff series between the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks, a matchup that Southern California hockey fans have been waiting twenty years for, much of the hype focused on the battle between two of the National Hockey League’s best centers, Anze Kopitar of the Kings, and Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks.

Getzlaf is a finalist for this season’s Hart Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s Most Valuable Player, while Kopitar is a finalist for the Selke Trophy, awarded to the league’s top defensive forward.

Looking at their offensive numbers, Getzlaf is fifth in playoff scoring with three goals and seven assists for ten points, with a +1 plus/minus rating and six penalty minutes in seven playoff games.

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