LOS ANGELES -- Two years ago veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell stood in front of his locker before Game 4 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final with a glowing expression. It was difficult for him not to get emotional at the prospect of winning the Cup for the first time.
It might have also been difficult for the rest of the Los Angeles Kings, who lost in their first attempt to close the series against the New Jersey Devils at home. They are more guarded this time around, and it was evident at the morning skate before Game 5 Friday against the New York Rangers at Staples Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).
The Kings lead the best-of-7 series 3-1. This is their first chance to close it out at home.
"As a team, I don't think we talk about , but at the same time I think we all know that we failed to close it out two times," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "That's always going to be in the back of our minds. But what we can do is we can learn from that experience. We know what we did wrong and we know why we let them back in the series.
"That's why [Friday] we figure we have to close it out, because the more games we give them the more life they get. Especially here at Staples, our home arena. It's a very important game for us."