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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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Contrary To Popular Belief, LA Kings’ Jake Muzzin Is Becoming A Solid NHL Defenseman

COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin has been under the microscope this season, so much so that he has become the favorite target of many fans who are highly critical of him and his play. But his play during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the increased responsibilities placed on his shoulders, are strong evidence that much of that criticism is unwarranted.


LA Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin, shown here checking
Chicago Blackhawks superstar center Jonathan Toews.

EL SEGUNDO, CA — If there is anything you can bank on when the Los Angeles Kings are in action, at least this season, it has been that social media will be abuzz with criticism of defenseman Jake Muzzin, who has been the frequent, almost constant target of the wrath of Kings faithful when things are not going well for the team.

Some limit their complaints to individual plays, when an obvious mistake was made, while others seem to believe that he is a catastrophe on skates, the worst defensemen to have ever picked up a hockey stick.

In fact, the criticism has been so intense that a Twitter hash tag was created for whenever Muzzin does something perceived to be negative: #MuzzKill.

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