Blackhawks, Kings set for conference final rematch
KINGS (8-6) at BLACKHAWKS (8-4)
12:00PM PT, TV: NBC SPORTS NETWORK; RADIO: AM 1150
HEY, AGAIN: The Kings see the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals for the second straight season. Chicago has had the Kings’ number during this year’s regular season, notching a perfect 3-0 record, winning two games at the United Center and one game at STAPLES Center, outscoring the Kings 9-4.
HIGH NOON: Today marks the Kings’ first postseason game outside of California this season. And, with the travels, come the odd game times. The Kings have yet to play a postseason game earlier than the 6:00 PST mark, which equates to a 9:00 EST mark. Today, they’ll play in the Central time zone, and the first puck to drop for this series will take place just after noon today. Can the Kings make their Midwest postseason debut with a matinee win?
A PROBLEM UNITED: The Kings haven’t fared well at Chicago’s United Center the past two seasons. Including last year’s playoffs, the Kings have dropped five straight games when playing in the Blackhawks’ home building, having not pulled off a win in the Windy City since March 25, 2013, when Dustin Brown buried the game-winning goal with 1:27 remaining in regulation to cap off a 5-4 Kings win.
QUICK WIND: Jonathan Quick hasn’t seen much of Chicago this season, appearing in only one game against the Blackhawks because of a lower-body injury that saw him sit out the entire month of December, when the Kings played the Blackhawks twice. The Kings came into Quick’s only appearance against the Blackhawks with a 1-7-1 record in their previous nine, but went 8-0-0 in their ensuing eight after their 5-3 loss to Chicago on February 3. Quick made 25 saves in the Kings’ 5-3 loss to Chicago on February 3.
STREAKY: The Kings have been rather streaky this postseason, so it may be a good thing that they’ve traveled across the country to open up this Western Conference Finals series against the Blackhawks less than 48 hours after putting a cap on the Anaheim Ducks with a six-goal barrage Friday night in Game 7. Can the Kings streak into Chicago this afternoon?
RESET BUTTON: Hear from defenseman Drew Doughty, who sat down with Jon Rosen over at LAKingsInsider.com Saturday morning prior to the team’s flight to Chicago.
Doughty: "I think all of our guys are ready to reset" http://t.co/OZmUvpOzVX— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) May 17, 2014
OFF TO ILLIONOIS: Anze Kopitar and Jarret Stoll spoke to media following the Kings’ practice Saturday in El Segundo, prior to their flight to Chicago.
KOPITAR: “Our goal is obviously to get here. Our job is not done yet, we certainly realize that and we’re hungry for more.”
STOLL: “You just have to reset quickly. You have no other choice, no other option. We’re excited, we got a little extra added energy Friday night after that win, the boys were coming in this morning, the tunes were going, it was a happy room in here.”