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."
Doughty played more than 39 minutes with nine shots on goal and four blocked shots in a 5-4 loss in double overtime in Game 5 on Wednesday. He said he didn't sleep much on the plane ride home and, as he always has, shrugged off the workload.
"Your heart doesn't get tired," Doughty said.
Fatigue is in the blackened eye of the beholder.
"You have to try to maintain your energy," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "You have to be able to find it in different ways during the game from different guys, and from the depth of your bench. It's not just saying, 'Let's have energy' … that's not the way it works. It's a mental battle. You look at teams that are still playing. We're seven weeks past [and most other] teams that haven't done nothing, have played their last game. That's where you're experienced in your leadership and being able to play through injury. You can set that stuff aside and try and get quality performance."
Dustin Brown is the captain, and Anze Kopitar and Matt Greene are the alternate captains, but Doughty has become the unfiltered voice of the Kings, who can identify with the Blackhawks as defending champions.
"We know how they know how to win," Doughty said. "We also know that they took our Cup back from us last year. Now it's our turn. We want to eliminate this team. They eliminated us last year in Game 5. It's our turn to return the favor."
Doughty had more strong sentiments when asked about Chicago building off its Game 5 win at United Center.
"Maybe they're feeling it, but I know we're not going to allow that to happen," Doughty said. "We're still confident in here. We know we could have won that game last night, overall, and we just had a bad start. Now we're back home at Staples [Center] and we're not going to allow them to take the crowd [out of it]. We're not going to allow them to get the early start. It's going to be the other way around this time."