2014 Western Conference Final – Game 7: LA Kings Make Unwanted Trip Back To Chicago

2014 WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL – GAME 7: The Los Angeles Kings are back in Chicago, a place they did not want to return to, not this soon, anyway. Despite that, they’re not uncomfortable being back in the Windy City for tonight’s Game 7. Part 1 of this two-part story looks back at Game 6, and the reasons they are back in Chicago. Part 2 will look at why the Kings are so comfortable being in Chicago for Game 7, even though returning was clearly not their first choice.


Chicago Blackhawks star left wing Patrick Kane (number 88) has had lots of reasons to celebrate after playing a starring role in his team’s wins in Games 5 and 6 over the Los Angeles Kings in the 2014 Western Conference Final.

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings are certainly in a place they don’t want to be, not literally, anyway.

After a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the 2014 Western Conference Final, the series is tied, 3-3, forcing the Kings to return to Chicago for tonight’s Game 7 (5:00 PM PDT), a city that they had no desire to visit again, at least, not until next season.

Defensive breakdowns and failing to pay close enough attention to the Blackhawks’ top players, most notably, Patrick Kane, have been the Kings’ downfall in the last two games.

“It’s been our problem the last two games, giving up too many goals and that’s the result of making mistakes in the neutral zone and mistakes on coverage,” said winger and team captain Dustin Brown. “If we clean that up, we’re good.”

“We’ve got to be sharper in our own end,” said defenseman Alec Martinez. “We can’t have those breakdowns and allow them those opportunities. They’re going to capitalize.”

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2014 Western Conference Final: LA Kings Need To Shore Up Defense In Game 6, A Must-Win Situation

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

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Through three rounds of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings have an 11-8 post-season record and their eight losses can be chalked up to, primarily, poor defensive play.

That was also apparent in their 5-4, double overtime loss in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on May 28, in Chicago.

The Kings lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 scheduled for tonight at Staples Center in Los Angeles (6:00 PM PDT; televised in the United States on NBCSN, and in Canada on CBC and RDS).

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Quick One-Timer On LA Kings Defenseman Jake Muzzin

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

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.

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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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