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'Zombie mode' Kings ready for Game 6 challenge

Friday, 05.30.2014 / 9:14 PM

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

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'Zombie mode' Kings ready for Game 6 challenge

LOS ANGELES -- It's been one month since the Los Angeles Kings made NHL history.

Friday marked 30 days since the Kings became the fourth team to erase a 3-0 series deficit and win a best-of-7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Kings were calm and collected that day before they eliminated the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference First Round. Los Angeles then erased a 3-2 series deficit against the Anaheim Ducks in the second round and won another Game 7.

Such efforts would leave a lot of teams drained, but Friday morning was business as usual as the Kings prepared for another attempt to close out the defending Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Los Angeles has a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series and is on verge of its second Cup Final in three years.

"It's kind of hard to explain," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "When you are at this point in the year, you are in a bit of a zombie mode, to put it best. But when it comes down to it, you're really focused at the same time. It's kind of an oxymoron, but it's one of those things, where it's definitely a grind, physically and emotionally and mentally, but when push comes to shove, guys are ready to play this time of year."

The Kings can close out a series at home for the first time in the 2014 playoffs, and the motivation is high for not wanting to go back to Chicago for Game 7. But the Blackhawks are a stubborn group and that presents a unique challenge.

"Both teams have been there before," right wing Justin Williams said. "Both teams have been in almost every situation imaginable in the playoffs in the last few years. We need to find a killer instinct and step on their throat and finish it off."

Coach Darryl Sutter fielded two questions during his press conference. There was wasn't much more to talk about this deep into a series, in part because the teams are so close.

Kings defensemen Robyn Regehr took part in team drills for the first time since his knee was injured May 3 but said he isn't able to play. He did line rushes with defenseman Jeff Schultz.

"I've still got some work to do," Regehr said. "On-ice conditioning now, getting up to speed as best I can, things like that, taking some contact."

Regehr said he did some 2-on-1 drills after he was cleared for contact.

"I need more of that," he said. "I need more 1-on-1 contact and things like that before I'm ready to roll."

There wasn't much talk of the Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers, but Brown, from upstate New York, repeated that he purposely wasn't a Rangers fan when he grew up. He rooted for the Vancouver Canucks during the 1994 Cup Final and became a Quebec Nordiques fan.

"I tended not to like the Rangers, just to be different," Brown said.

Here are the projected lineup:

KINGS

Marian GaborikAnze KopitarDustin Brown

Tanner PearsonJeff CarterTyler Toffoli

Dwight KingJarret StollJustin Williams

Kyle CliffordMike RichardsTrevor Lewis

Jake MuzzinDrew Doughty

Willie MitchellSlava Voynov

Alec MartinezMatt Greene

Jonathan Quick

Martin Jones

Injured: Robyn Regehr (knee)

Scratched: Colin Fraser, Andrew Bodnarchuk, Brayden McNabb, Jeff Schultz, Linden Vey, Andy Andreoff, Jordan Nolan, Jean-Francois Berube

BLACKHAWKS

Bryan BickellJonathan ToewsMarian Hossa

Brandon SaadAndrew ShawPatrick Kane

Patrick SharpMichal HandzusBen Smith

Brandon Bollig -- Marcus Kruger

Duncan KeithNiklas Hjalmarsson

Brent SeabrookNick Leddy

Michal RozsivalJohnny Oduya

Sheldon Brookbank

Corey Crawford

Antti Raanta

Quote of the Day

I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh