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Los Angeles Kings Are Holding On By A Quickly Unraveling Thread As They Face Elimination

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar, shown here during a recent practice
session, has scored just two goals in his last 33 games
(17 playoff games and 16 regular season games).
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings are in Chicago, hours away from a win-or-go home Game 5 matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks, who lead their best-of-seven Western Conference Final playoff series, 3-1.

The Blackhawks, even without their top defenseman, Duncan Keith (suspended), used their superior speed and surprisingly strong physical play to force the Kings into numerous turnovers and to keep Kings forwards on the perimeter throughout most of Game 4, a 3-2 Chicago victory that was not as close as the score might indicate.

Indeed, the disparity in quality scoring chances fell heavily in favor of the Blackhawks, who could have easily won this game by a two or three-goal margin, if not for the strong play of Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, even though the Blackhawks’ first goal by forward Bryan Bickell was a soft goal.

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2013 Western Conference Finals: Goaltending, Physical Style Should Help LA Kings Advance Past Chicago Blackhawks

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Heading into Game 1 of the 2013 Western Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Kings face their greatest challenge yet this season in the President’s Trophy-winning Chicago Blackhawks.

Having lost two of the three games against Chicago in the regular season might be a red flag for many. But the Kings won the last contest between the two teams on March 25, 5-4, at a time when the Kings were different team than the one the Blackhawks faced earlier in the season.

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Intangibles Are Now A Source Of Strength For The Los Angeles Kings

EL SEGUNDO, CA — A couple of days ago, Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown reflected back on his team’s 2012 Stanley Cup Championship, the road they traveled to reach the National Hockey League’s Promised Land, and then compared that playoff run to their current journey towards the 2013 Stanley Cup.

In LA Kings Dustin Brown Has New Perspective On Winning And Losing, he said:

“You always remember what it feels like to lose,” he said. “You almost have to lose before you learn how to win. It’s a motivating factor.”

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San Jose Sharks Present A Whole New Post-Season Challenge For LA Kings

VIDEO INTERVIEWS: Includes video interviews with Los Angeles Kings Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Matt Greene, Jarret Stoll, and head coach Darryl Sutter.


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

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings are heading into Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Jose Sharks on May 14 (7:00 PM PDT, Staples Center) knowing that were not at the top of their game in the first round of the playoffs against the St. Louis Blues. To be sure, the Kings have not looked much like the team that won the 2012 Stanley Cup Championship.

“I don’t know if we’ve played like that yet,” said defenseman Drew Doughty. “I think we still have a long way to go. We were OK in the St. Louis series. We weren’t great. We didn’t play to the best of our abilities, so we’ve got a lot to work on, and we’ve got to start doing it in this series.”

“Our defensive zone coverage, composure with the puck under fast, quick pressure, heavy pressure, like we saw in the first round, I don’t think we handled it too well,” said center Jarret Stoll. “We need to be a lot better in that area. We relied on our goaltender too much. He was great, he was awesome for us, but we need to be better in that area, and just bearing down, offensively. We had some chances that went by. We scored some timely goals, but I think we could’ve put more pucks in the net, and we didn’t.”

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