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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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Jeff Schultz Puts In Solid Performance In Fill-In Role For LA Kings

AUDIO INTERVIEWS: Listen to post-game audio of interviews with Dustin Brown, Alec Martinez, Jeff Schultz, head coaches Darryl Sutter and Bruce Boudreau. Also listen to the pre-game press conference with National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman.


LA Kings defenseman Jeff Schultz

ANAHEIM, CA — With veteran, stay-at-home defensemen Willie Mitchell and Robyn Regehr unavailable due to injury, the Los Angeles Kings were forced to turn to a player who had not played in a National Hockey League game since March 31, 2013, when he was with the Washington Capitals.

Along the same lines, the Kings turned to a player who spent the entire season (aside from a couple of brief recalls to the Kings; he did not play) with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League.

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LA Kings-Anaheim Ducks: Second Round Playoff Series Preview

AUDIO INTERVIEWS: Includes audio of May 2 post-practice interviews with Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, forward Dustin Brown, defenseman Jake Muzzin, and head coach Darryl Sutter.


Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin (right) shined during the first round playoff series
against the San Jose Sharks, much to the surprise of many fans.

 

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With all the talk over the past couple of days about a true rivalry that will be established between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, now that the two teams are finally meeting in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the anticipation going into the series is palpable.

But beyond the hype, the game is played on the ice, and one team must win four games to advance to the conference finals.

For the Kings to accomplish that goal, they must clamp down defensively on the team that led the National Hockey League offensively during the regular season, averaging 3.21 goals per game, compared to the Kings’ 2.42 goals per game (ranked 26th in the league).

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LA Kings Hoping Stark Contrast From Games 1 and 2 Continues

AUDIO INTERVIEWS: Includes audio interviews with Dwight King, Darryl Sutter, and the entire media scrum interview with Dustin Brown (not available elsewhere)..


LA Kings winger and team captain Dustin Brown.
(click above to view larger image)

LOS ANGELES — Just ahead of tonight’s Game 6 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the San Jose Sharks, who lead the series 3-2, the Los Angeles Kings, have not only made this playoff series a competitive one, but the pressure is all on the Sharks.

Despite that, the Kings are still just one game away from elimination, and they know that they have to keep doing what’s been working for them, and push forward from that.

“Getting off to a good start is key for us,” said winger and team captain Dustin Brown. “The desperation for both teams should be pretty high, so it’s a matter of matching it, and pushing it to the next level.”

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