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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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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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Confidence Is High For LA Kings Heading Into Game 7 vs. Anaheim Ducks

Forward Trevor Lewis (left) has stepped up his game in the playoffs
once again for the LA Kings, while teammate Justin Williams (right) is
5-0 in Game 7’s in his NHL career.

EL SEGUNDO, CA — For the Los Angeles Kings, playing in the seventh game of a playoff series almost seems routine, a foregone conclusion. After all, they are about to play their second Game 7 in consecutive playoff series, already having won Game 7 in the first round against the San Jose Sharks.

Last season, the Kings also needed seven games to get past the Sharks in the second round of the playoffs.

As a team, the Kings are just 5-4 in Game 7’s in their history. But the current team, as individuals, has enjoyed great success in Game 7’s, earning a combined 52-7 record. That has helped make them comfortable and has them feeling very confident heading into Friday’s Game 7 against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center in Anaheim.

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For LA Kings, Fixing The Initial Problem Should Take Care Of The Rest Of’Em

LA Kings forward Jeff Carter (left), shown here after scoring a power play goal during his team’s 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in playoff action on Thursday, May 10, 2014, at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — As the Los Angeles Kings filed into their dressing room after their 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of their second round playoff matchup on May 8, they knew exactly why they lost.

Sloppy puck management in their own zone led to turnovers, and wide gaps on breakouts, which led to poor passing, and eventually, great difficulty in generating a forecheck and quality scoring chances.

Kings center Mike Richards indicated that indeed, poor puck management created a cascade of other problems.

That brings to mind the old children’s song, ’Dem Dry Bones.

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