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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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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LA Kings Point To Mental Toughness, Confidence As Key Factors In Their Playoff Success

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

LOS ANGELES — After their 3-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on May 18, the Los Angeles Kings were focused on what they needed to be better at in Game 2 on May 21.

“I think we can do a better job of getting in front of the net and making it harder on their goalie,” center Anze Kopitar told the media in Chicago after the game. “We had some pretty good shots, but nobody was hanging around, so [Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford] was able to see everything.”

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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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