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Posted On Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 3:18 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Stoll staying on Kings' top line for Game 4

LOS ANGELES -- Jarret Stoll was good enough as the Los Angeles Kings' top-line center in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final that he will find himself again in between Dustin Brown and Justin Williams at the start of Game 4 Thursday at Staples Center against the Chicago Blackhawks (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Stoll played 28 shifts totaling more than 17 minutes and was a plus-1 with two shots on goal in the Kings' 3-1 victory in Game 3 on Tuesday. It was the most he played and the most effective he's been in three games since returning from a concussion that cost him the final six games of the conference semifinals against the San Jose Sharks.

"That's the best I felt since I came back for sure," Stoll said. "I definitely wasn't happy with my Game 2 and a lot happier with my Game 3, but we know we have to be even better than we were in Game 3 to get a win here in Game 4."

Posted On Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 2:31 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings won't change plan because Keith isn't playing

LOS ANGELES -- Though it may be a relief for the Los Angeles Kings to know they don't have to deal with Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final on Thursday, they said nothing changes for them despite the fact the Blackhawks won't have their top blueliner.

The NHL's Department of Player Safety suspended Keith for Game 4 for high-sticking Kings forward  Jeff Carter during Game 3 on Tuesday. Sheldon Brookbank will play in Keith's place when the Blackhawks attempt to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"Spend time in their zone -- that's our game, so really do nothing different," Kings defenseman Matt Greene said when asked what his team can do to take advantage of Keith being out. "Just get pucks behind their D no matter who is playing, whether it's Keith or Brookbank, if that's who they're tossing in there. You've gotta be ready and we've gotta establish our game, which is a grinding game, offensive-zone-time game, and that's it."

Posted On Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 2:13 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Toffoli made magazine cover in unusual way

LOS ANGELES -- Tyler Toffoli first got a text message from his father, Rob. Then the texts came in from his friends.

Toffoli made news.

No, this wasn't after a big goal or a big play. The Los Angeles Kings forward was on a regional cover of this week's Sports Illustrated -- upside down, to be exact, on the receiving end of a hit by Marcus Kruger of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Yes, Toffoli has been posterized.

"I think my dad maybe texted me and everyone else texted me so it was kind of funny," Toffoli said after the morning skate Thursday. "It's not a big deal. It's hockey. You get hit. It's a pretty funny picture, to be honest."

Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 3:42 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Richards skates with Kings' extra players

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards skated Wednesday at the team's practice facility after sitting out the past two games of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks with an upper-body injury that is believed to be a concussion.

Richards skated with all the players who were scratched for Game 3 on Tuesday plus backup goalie Jonathan Bernier.

Game 4 is set for Thursday at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). Chicago leads the best-of-7 series, 2-1.

Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 1:13 AM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Quick's save on Bickell could be a turning point

LOS ANGELES – It was a game saving save and perhaps a series-changing save, and it also meant much more to the Los Angeles Kings.

Late in the third period with a 2-1 lead to protect, Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell found himself with the puck on his stick and a gaping chance to tie the score and send Game 3 of the Western Conference Final into overtime.

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick somehow got his right leg down and his blocker up to stop the shot. The sellout crowd might still be digesting it and enjoying it on replay. Quick did not have that benefit.

"On the initial shot, I kind of got bumped a little and spun a little off angle, so I wasn't really able to put the rebound where I wanted to, so it ends up on his stick," Quick said. "You're just trying to cover net and get fortunate and it hits your blocker. Obviously, it was a big save at the time. You got to get lucky sometimes. It was good."

Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 9:56 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings without Richards again in Game 3

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards is not playing in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks (NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Richards, who is the Kings' leading scorer in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 10 points, did not take part in the morning skate at Staples Center.

"Yes, absolutely," Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said when he was asked if Richards definitely is out. "He's done a little bit every day but it's the same -- no progress."

Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 8:49 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings move Kopitar from first to third line

LOS ANGELES -- Anze Kopitar's struggles have cost him his job as the Los Angeles Kings' No. 1 center.

Kopitar, who two goals and five assists through 15 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, began Game 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final as the Kings' third-line center between Dwight King and Trevor Lewis. Jarret Stoll traded places with Kopitar and started Game 3 skating in between Justin Williams and Dustin Brown.

Stoll has played the past two games after missing six in a row with a concussion. Kopitar has no points in the conference final.

The Blackhawks lead the best-of-7 series, 2-0.

Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 4:44 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

With early start time, Blackhawks skip morning skate

BEVERLEY HILLS, Calif. -- Hockey teams, and the players on them, are creatures of habit.

Players like to keep the same daily routine whenever possible. So Game 3 of the Western Conference Final will be a bit of a unique situation for the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks played in games on back-to-back days Saturday and Sunday. They did not practice Monday, because almost all teams do not after back-to-backs to conserve energy and heal.

But with Game 3 against the Los Angeles Kings being a 6 p.m. local time start, the Blackhawks had a decision to make: Stick with their normal routine for 6 p.m. starts and not having a morning skate, or go on the ice at an abnormal time on a game day.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said it would be the former, so the Blackhawks will not go on the ice between Games 2 and 3, other than the pregame warm-up skate.

"Personally, I kind of like it," Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "It's nice. It's been a lot of hockey here. Back-to-back, obviously, and travel days. Personally, I don't mind it. Just try to be mentally ready when the puck drops. That's what it's all about at this point, I think."

Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 3:23 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Sutter expects more from Kings in Game 3

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter decided to take it easy on center Jarret Stoll after Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Sutter already knew Stoll was being hard enough on himself after posting a minus-2 rating in the 4-2 loss at United Center, his second game back after missing six in a row with a concussion.

"I think, you know him, he was disappointed in himself more than I was in him, so I think you'll see a much better Jarret [Tuesday night]," Sutter said in advance of Game 3 at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS), where the Kings have won 14 games in a row.

"It's not easy," Sutter continued. "He's coming back from a concussion, bottom line. He was pretty much knocked out. To come back in and be 100 percent confident, I don't think it's that easy. He expects a lot of himself and I think he'll do a lot better [Tuesday night]."

Posted On Sunday, 06.02.2013 / 6:10 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings remain confident heading into Game 2

CHICAGO – The Los Angeles Kings lost their first two games of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs on the road against the St. Louis Blues, but still won that Western Conference Quarterfinals series in six games.

After dropping Game 1 of the Western Conference Final in a 2-1 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night at United Center, the defending Stanley Cup champions are again faced with a possible 0-2 hole should they lose the second half of back-to-back contests in Game 2 on Sunday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Don’t, however, ask Kings coach Darryl Sutter if his team’s first-round experience might be something to draw confidence from if they’re flying home again down two games to none.

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You could feel it. You could feel that they were going after each other and trying to win the game for their team.

— Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom on Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals, in which Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin and Penguins forward Sidney Crosby each scored hat tricks
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