Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty spent the past two weeks trying to shut down the Anaheim Ducks' combination of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. He did it well enough that the Kings were able to outlast the Ducks in seven games to win their Western Conference Second Round series, earning a trip to the conference final and a rematch with the Chicago Blackhawks.
For Doughty, that means that he'll go from trying to shut down Getzlaf and Perry to facing Chicago center Jonathan Toews and right wing Patrick Kane, who helped lead the Blackhawks to a five-game victory against the Kings last spring on the way to the Stanley Cup.
He's eager to get another crack at Chicago, and particularly Toews and Kane.
"Playing those guys is tough," he said Saturday. "Every team has those tough guys that you relish going up and playing against. Some guys are tougher than others. These two in particular are going to be really tough for our ‘D’. Our forwards, as well.
"I look forward to playing against Toews and Kane and keeping them off the score sheet to the best of my ability. It's going to be a battle, but I'm looking forward to it."
Chicago relies on speed and skill; the Kings are more physical but not as fast. To Doughty, that means L.A. has to be smart with the puck and play a grinding game, rather than let the Blackhawks fly around and use their speed.
"I think we need to keep possession of the puck," he said. "The times we get in trouble [are] when we make a turnover; they'll either draw a penalty -- and their power play is lethal. They'll score goals like they scored in the series last year.
"We just want to keep possession of that puck. We want to get in and forecheck, rough it up in the corners. We want to be a physical team. I think that's one thing, we can be more physical than them, no doubt about that. We have to, yeah, just keep the puck, make the right plays at the right times, not have as many turnovers."
The Blackhawks blitzed the Kings last year. But the Kings feel they're a better team than they were a year ago and that they learned a lot from that loss.
"They're a tough team to play against," Doughty said. "They're so good. They have so many good players. They have weapons at every single position. So, yeah, it's going to be a battle out there again. We all know they beat us pretty good last year, beat us pretty handily.
"We have to learn what we did wrong and fix those things."