Game 5 vs. Chicago Is Likely To Be The LA Kings Toughest Challenge Yet During 2014 Playoffs

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar (foreground), shown here being pursued by Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane during Game 4 of the 2014
Western Conference Final at Staples Center in Los Angeles on May 26, 2014.

LOS ANGELES — After the Los Angeles Kings soundly defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, 5-2, in Game 4 of the 2014 Western Conference Final at Staples Center in Los Angeles on May 26, many media, pundits and fans alike declared the Blackhawks dead, and the series over.

The Blackhawks are trailing in the series, 3-1, facing elimination in tonight’s Game 5 in Chicago. But as the saying goes, there’s a reason they play the games, and as the Kings themselves have proven during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, coming back to win a series after being pushed to the brink of elimination is not impossible.

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Chicago Blackhawks May Not Have An Answer For LA Kings “That 70’s Line”

LA Kings right wing Tyler Toffoli celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal in the second period of his team’s 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the 2014 Western Conference Finals at Staples Center
in Los Angeles on May 24, 2014.

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — Prior to the start of the 2014 Western Conference Final, much of the talk was about the upcoming battle between two of the top centers in the National Hockey League, Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Conventional wisdom dictated that for whichever player won the battle between them, their team would win the series.

So far, the advantage goes to Toews.

Indeed, Kopitar has contributed just one assist in the series so far, and his line mates, left wing Marian Gaborik and forward Dustin Brown, have been held without a point in the series by Toews’ line, with Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa on the wings.

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LA Kings Point To Mental Toughness, Confidence As Key Factors In Their Playoff Success

LA Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell
(click above to view larger image
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — After their 3-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on May 18, the Los Angeles Kings were focused on what they needed to be better at in Game 2 on May 21.

“I think we can do a better job of getting in front of the net and making it harder on their goalie,” center Anze Kopitar told the media in Chicago after the game. “We had some pretty good shots, but nobody was hanging around, so [Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford] was able to see everything.”

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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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LA Kings Anze Kopitar Deserves To Win 2013-14 Selke Trophy, But Don’t Hold Your Breath

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar, shown here during a recent practice.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With less than two weeks left in the 2013-14 National Hockey League season, Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar is finally getting some well-deserved consideration for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL’s best defensive forward.

Indeed, such consideration is overdue by two or three years. In fact, yours truly has voted for Kopitar as a finalist for the Selke Trophy (voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association) in each of the last three seasons.

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