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Posted On Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 7:31 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Blackhawks' new line confounded Kings in Game 5

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter isn't always chatty after games, but give it some time and he'll bluntly voice his assessment. That was the case Thursday, when on an off day he stated what happened the night before in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final.

The Chicago Blackhawks made a strategic move putting together a line of Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw and Patrick Kane, and it exploited the Kings for a goal, eight assists and a combined plus-10 rating in a 5-4, double-overtime win Wednesday.

It's unusual for the dynamic of a Stanley Cup Playoff series to change late, but that move largely kept Chicago's season alive and forced Game 6 on Friday at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Los Angeles leads the best-of-7 series 3-2.

Sutter, who didn't talk about Chicago's changes after Game 5, acknowledged Thursday "the adjustment was we couldn't keep up with Saad." Asked about having the answer to counter the line, Sutter said, "The guys that played against them last night were not on top of their game, and that's the answer."


Posted On Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 7:16 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings' Doughty says Game 6 'has to be ours'

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings needed 20 games to win the Stanley Cup in 2012. Game 6 of the 2014 Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday will be the Kings' 20th game of this postseason (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Leading the best-of-7 series 3-2, the Kings don't want to play any more games than necessary. They played on the road in Game 7 of the Western Conference First Round against the San Jose Sharks and visited the Anaheim Ducks for Game 7 of their Western Conference Second Round series.

"We need to win tomorrow. No matter what, this game has to be ours," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said Thursday. "It's so important for us to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. If we give them this game, they're going to have so much more life and they're going to be a different team, and we need to take that energy away from them."


Posted On Monday, 05.26.2014 / 2:41 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings' Regehr skates, but has no timeline on return

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr reported some progress Monday from his knee injury but didn't have a timetable for his return.

Regehr came out late to skate on the morning of Game 4 of the Western Conference Final on Monday at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS), the second straight day he has taken the ice. But he isn't doing drills and appears a ways off from being available.

"I can't put a timeline on it because it just depends if things keep going along well, then we can kind of gauge that," Regehr said. "But if, all of a sudden, there's a day or two, if something happens, I take a step backward, then that date will then change. I really don't know. I've been making steps forward this whole time, so far, I'm really hoping to avoid any sort of regression."

Posted On Monday, 05.26.2014 / 2:36 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings have blanked Blackhawks' Kane, but stay wary

LOS ANGELES -- Darryl Sutter's press conferences are known for awkward silences and long pauses. The Los Angeles Kings coach isn't chatty on a lot of days, but he perked up Monday morning when asked about limiting Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane.

Kane has been held scoreless in the first three games of the Western Conference Final, which the Kings lead 2-1 going into Game 4 at Staples Center on Monday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN). Kane was a combined minus-4 in Games 2 and 3, but Sutter and the Kings don't need to be reminded that he is a sleeping bear they expect to wake.

"Kane's a scary guy," Sutter said. "We talk about it all the time. The more you play him, the more you know it's coming somewhere. We're very familiar with him and we're very respectful of what he brings to the team. You can say he's been kept off [the score sheet]. But we've done a good job against him. He's had some brilliant opportunities, and those guys like that, they only need those one or two, so we have to be even more aware of him."

Posted On Saturday, 05.24.2014 / 2:28 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings hope to improve playoff home record

LOS ANGELES – During their run to the 2013 Western Conference Final, the Los Angeles Kings were able to find refuge at Staples Center. They won their first eight games at home during those Stanley Cup Playoffs, including elimination games against the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks.

This season has been different, however, for a team that has won eight playoff series in the past three seasons. The Kings are 3-3 at Staples Center in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, a mediocre home record they will try to improve when the Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks shifts to Los Angeles with Game 3 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1.

Posted On Thursday, 05.22.2014 / 4:55 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings defenseman Regehr battling knee injury

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr has a knee injury, coach Darryl Sutter said Thursday.

Sutter revealed the injury on the first off day after Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks; tt was previously undisclosed. Regehr has been out since May 3, when he was hit by Anaheim Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne against the end boards in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round.

Asked if Regehr was cleared to skate, Sutter said, "Robyn's not skating. When Robyn's ready to skate, he'll skate. It's a knee injury, and obviously he'll make that decision. If he could play on one leg, he would. He showed it last year in the playoffs … if there's a way to skate, he'd be playing."

Posted On Saturday, 05.17.2014 / 3:52 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings all business as they head for Chicago

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Fewer than 40 hours will have elapsed from when the Los Angeles Kings eliminated the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 to the puck drop against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final.

That didn't stop the Kings from conducting a morning skate at their practice facility Saturday, using whatever adrenaline was left over from their second-round series win Friday night before they boarded a plane for Chicago. Game 1 is Sunday at United Center (3 p.m. ET; NBC, TSN, RDS).

"I think you just have to reset quickly," Kings center Jarret Stoll said. "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, and the tunes were going and it was a happy room in here. We're looking forward to getting on the plane and heading into Chicago and preparing for a Game 1 win. It's been our whole mindset with this group the whole way through, going into tough buildings and winning and battling it out."

Posted On Friday, 05.16.2014 / 2:44 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Kings series blog

Ducks shuffle lines for Game 7 against Kings

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau is known for frequently tweaking his line combinations, and it appears he will try another twist, at least to start Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Los Angeles Kings on Friday at Honda Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Left wing Daniel Winnik skated on the third line with center Mathieu Perreault and Teemu Selanne at the morning skate. Left wing Patrick Maroon usually has been with Perreault and Selanne, and the trio thrived earlier in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but Maroon skated on the fourth line with center Nick Bonino and right wing Kyle Palmieri.

Winnik said he's played with Perreault and Selanne about two or three times all season. It could last a shift or two, but Boudreau pointed out that Maroon, Bonino and Palmieri were a good line for the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.

"They've had moments up here that have been very good," Boudreau said. "So [I'm] just trying to create a little bit of chemistry. I think, one [Winnik is] a better skater than [Maroon] and might be able to be a little bit better defensively on that line."

Posted On Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 2:24 AM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Kings series blog

Ducks' Gibson on Lewis goal: 'It happens'

LOS ANGELES -- Anaheim Ducks rookie goalie John Gibson isn't known for being overly talkative, and he was certainly concise when asked about the first bad goal of his Stanley Cup Playoffs career.

With Anaheim trailing 1-0 in the second period of Game 6 of this Western Conference Second Round series, Los Angeles Kings forward Trevor Lewis skated down left wing and wristed a harmless, low shot that beat Gibson under the pads at 14:04.

The Kings won 2-1 to force Game 7 on Friday at Honda Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Gibson recovered after what could have been a confidence-blowing goal. Asked about resetting after the goal, Gibson said, "Yeah, it was just one shot. Missed it. It happens."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 3:39 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Kings series blog

Vatanen providing Ducks with spark from blue line

LOS ANGELES -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen saw his hockey cards come to life when he arrived in Anaheim. There across the dressing room were his Finnish idols, right wing Teemu Selanne and center Saku Koivu. Vatanen collected Selanne's card growing up in Finland.

"Of course it was a special moment for me," Vatanen said. "I saw those guys, who I've been watching all my young life, and try to learn from them. It was fun. They're good guys and I like to hang out with them. It's pretty special."

Selanne, an avid car collector, gave Vatanen a Mercedes-Benz to drive around town. On the ice, he and Koivu helped Vatanen assimilate to the Ducks.

"Every day when I got here, I didn't understand what the coaches were saying," Vatanen said. "I got to ask them and speak my own language."

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