EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Been there, done that?
Well, the Los Angeles Kings
have been to Vancouver and done this -- go on the road with a 3-1 series lead and clinch. Now they are in the exact same position, needing to win on the road to eliminate the Phoenix Coyotes
in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
The Vancouver Canucks
got a boost from the return of Daniel Sedin
in Game 4 to force the quarterfinals to shift back to Vancouver. In this series, Phoenix got something extra from the returns of Martin Hanzal
and Adrian Aucoin
to move the finals back to Glendale, Ariz.
said after Game 4 that the Kings have to take the same approach as the Vancouver series. Team captain Dustin Brown
concurred that this has the same feel.
"We've worked really hard to give ourselves this advantage early in the series and we let an opportunity slip by not capitalizing and being on home ice," Brown said. "Now it's up to guys to rally their own game and rally collectively to go into Phoenix with that attitude that we're coming out of there with a win."
This is the first sign of a setback the Kings have faced since the Vancouver series. In Game 4 of the conference finals they fell into a two-goal deficit for the first time since Game 4 of the quarterfinals; they recovered from that loss with a club record eight-game playoff winning streak that was snapped in Game 4 against the Coyotes.
"I think this team has handled adversity pretty well, considering the type of year we had," Brown said. "This time of year it's about sticking together. We lost one game, so it's a matter of rebounding."
A rebound win would make history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, a win would make the Kings the first team to go unbeaten on the road en route to the Stanley Cup Final under the current playoff format.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter
consistently downplays his team's road success and has done a tremendous job of impressing that on his players. Asked about their confidence on the road, Sutter said, "Try to win the next game. It could be in Tucson or Toledo or Los Angeles. To me, that has no bearing on anything."