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Penguins vs Bruins

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Blackhawks vs Kings - 2013 Western Conference Final

Analysts break down Blackhawks-Kings series

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The matchup between the powerful Los Angeles Kings and speedy Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final could bear a striking resemblance to the series that will take place in the Eastern Conference. The Boston Bruins are similarly powerful, and the Pittsburgh Penguins have the same type of speed and high-octane attack.

The difference could be Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, who for the second straight spring is the best goalie in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"It's gotten to the point where you have to wonder if anybody can beat this guy," NHL Network analyst Ken Daneyko told NHL.com.

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Kings know what they'll see from Blackhawks

Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 6:46 PM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2013 Western Conference Final

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter typically has to be in the right mood to discuss the past. He usually welcomes those questions as much as he does a neutral-zone turnover.

Sutter opened up briefly, though, when the inevitable question came about his seasons spent with the Chicago Blackhawks, eight as a player and five as an assistant or coach.

"[I was there as a] young guy, old guy, single guy, married guy; with children; lots of sports, two baseball teams, football teams, great basketball team," Sutter said. "Really good hockey team.

"It's a great hockey environment. The reason it's a great environment is you have good hockey teams, and when you don't have good hockey teams you don't have a good environment."

Those memories from the 1980s and early 1990s will dissipate into the United Center roof when Sutter's defending Stanley Cup champions open the Western Conference Final against Chicago on Saturday (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN).

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Blackhawks must jump right back into fray vs. Kings

Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 4:01 PM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2013 Western Conference Final

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks needed a day off Thursday after a wild night at the Madhouse on Madison Street, aka United Center.

The Blackhawks took the day to rest and recover after Brent Seabrook's Game 7 overtime goal ended a classic, emotionally charged Western Conference Semifinal against the rival Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.

After the game, the Blackhawks who met with reporters wore looks on their faces that varied from relief to sheer exhaustion -- the result of a series in which they fell behind 3-1 and reeled off three straight victories to advance.

"The playoffs aren't easy," said Chicago center Dave Bolland, who delivered a big hit on Detroit's Gustav Nyquist that turned the puck over to Seabrook in OT. "You don't come in here thinking things are just going to happen and you're going to score and you're going to be a success. We've got to battle and play hard. We have to bear down … and this isn't the end. This is just another step towards the Stanley Cup."

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Solid foundations essential to Quick's playoff success

Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 9:59 AM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2013 Western Conference Final

Ken Baker - NHL.com Goalie Insider

When Jonathan Quick backstopped the Los Angeles Kings to a Stanley Cup championship in 2012, the question that soon lingered was whether the goalie could perform at such a high level again.

As the defending playoff MVP prepares for the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, the answer to the questions appears to be a resounding "yes."

But what Quick is accomplishing goes beyond answering that simple question. Quick's unique style and idiosyncratic approach to the position has many in the goalie community wondering if his blending of old- and new-school puck-stopping methods is setting a new standard for goalies, much in the way modern goaltending revolutionaries Patrick Roy and Dominik Hasek did in their day.

There are many things that make Quick, 27, the unique and successful goalie he is. Some have to do with technique, some with preparation and some with mental toughness.

Having been around Quick and his goalie coach, Bill Ranford, for several years, it is easier to pinpoint five of the foundations that have led to Quick's playoff success and his status as one of the best big-game goalies in hockey today.

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Tale of the Tape: West final favors Blackhawks

Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 9:36 AM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2013 Western Conference Final

NHL.com

There are storylines galore going into the Western Conference Final, a series between two of the past three Stanley Cup winners.

Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter will be coaching against the only team he played for (406 games) and the first team he coached (1992-95). Chicago Blackhawks assistant Jamie Kompon will be helping coach Joel Quenneville game plan against the team he worked for as an assistant coach last season.

Kompon, like the Kings, has won six straight playoff series.

Kings forwards Mike Richards and Jeff Carter will be facing the team they lost to in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final when they were members of the Philadelphia Flyers. Blackhawks center Michal Handzus is playing against the team he skated for from 2007-2011.

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Blackhawks vs. Kings series preview

Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 1:00 AM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2013 Western Conference Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer


Blackhawks

  Seed: 136-7-577 Pts.

Kings

  Seed: 527-16-559 Pts.

The Los Angeles Kings were Stanley Cup champions last season. The Chicago Blackhawks know the feeling; they won the Cup two years earlier.

One of the two will have an opportunity to raise it again this year.

The Blackhawks and Kings earned that opportunity by winning emotional seven-game series in the Western Conference Semifinals. This is the first time they will face each other in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 1974 -- an irrelevant piece of information to every player and coach that will take part in the series.

What is relevant, depending on how much weight someone really wants to put into the regular season at this time of year, is how close they were when they played.

The Blackhawks won two of the three meetings, including a 5-2 win in the season opener at Staples Center, and held a 12-9 advantage in total goals. However, they each had 84 shots and were even with two power-play goals in the three-game season series.

Chicago forward Jonathan Toews, who has struggled so far in these playoffs, led the Blackhawks with six points in the season series. Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick, who has been sensational in the playoffs, wasn't during the regular season against Chicago with an .857 save percentage in three appearances.

On paper, Chicago is favored because it was the top team in the NHL during the regular season and has home-ice advantage in the series. But when it comes to intangibles and experience, the Kings and Blackhawks appear to be even.

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Blackhawks, Kings set for Western Conference Final

Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 11:09 PM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2013 Western Conference Final

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Now that the Chicago Blackhawks have overcome a 3-1 series deficit for the first time in franchise history and survived overtime in Game 7, they feel they're ready to end the Los Angeles Kings' reign as Stanley Cup champions.

The Blackhawks and Kings will face off in the Western Conference Final beginning Saturday at United Center (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS). The winner of the first postseason meeting between the teams since 1974 will advance to the Stanley Cup Final against either the Boston Bruins or Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Kings are trying to become the first team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and '98 to win consecutive Cups. The Blackhawks, who ended a 49-year drought by winning it all in 2010, are going for their second Cup in three years.

"We're excited, we're looking forward to it, we're ready to play," defenseman Brent Seabrook, who scored the OT winner in Game 7, said of the Kings. "I think we found our game in the later games here in this series, and we're looking forward to getting that one started Saturday night."

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Kings grateful for day off after surviving Sharks

Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 6:20 PM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2013 Western Conference Final

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards awoke Wednesday to a warm Southern California morning and enjoyed not having to go to the rink.

"I laid in bed for probably an hour-and-a-half, two hours just to unwind," Richards said in a conference call. "It was nice just to relax and take your mind off it a little bit and give your brain a little bit of a rest."

Richards and his Los Angeles Kings teammates could finally rest after they churned out a 2-1, Game 7 win against the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Semifinals. It ended a 29-day span during which the Kings played 13 games, including 11 one-goal games.

Last season, L.A. needed nine games to get through the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and neither series was as grueling as the conference quarterfinals against the St. Louis Blues and the nail-biting semifinals against San Jose.

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Quote of the Day

We've got a team filled with captains, that's what I think. With these first two games we got in, we're really dominating and moving the puck really fast, and it's worked out really good.

— U.S. goalie Brandon Halverson after a 6-0 win against Germany in the World Junior Championship on Sunday