By Kyle Shohara
LOS ANGELES – Much like Game 6 of their first round series against the Dallas Stars, the Ducks find themselves in an elimination game on the road, this time just up the freeway at Staples Center. The Ducks can move on to the Western Conference Final with a victory tonight against the LA Kings, which would mark their fourth consecutive win in Southern California's first ever playoff series between two major local teams.
It appears the Kings will once again go with Jonathan Quick in net, who the Ducks victimized by putting up four goals in the first two periods of their 4-3 victory in Game 5 at Honda Center. Head coach Bruce Boudreau said he expected the Kings to bring their best effort in that game, and tonight, he says, will be no different.
“They’re comfortable in this position,” Boudreau said. “They’re not a young group that’s panicking. They’re more determined. They change their game when they get down. I expect them to be sitting there thinking they got us where they want us.”
Similarly, Boudreau says his team will have to bring its best effort of the series. “We have to play as hard as we can, and just be responsible,” he said. “There are going to be mistakes because hockey is about mistakes. We want to make as few as possible, but be doing it through effort.”
SEIZING THE OPPORTUNITY
Prior to Game 6 at Dallas, the players talked about seizing the opportunity in an elimination game. The Ducks don’t want to give the Kings another chance because anything can happen in a Game 7.
“Any time you have a chance to do that, you don’t want to wait,” said defenseman Francois Beauchemin. “If you have a 3-2 lead, you want to keep it going. We want to build momentum. I know we’ve won three in a row, but we want to make it four.”
Said winger Patrick Maroon, “No one wants to go a Game 7 in this locker room. Once we seize the opportunity, we try and grab it. We’ve done a good job of that all year. We have an opportunity tonight to close this series out.
“I believe in this group. We’re very confident. We’re going to have our best effort tonight.”
SUCCESS AT STAPLES CENTER
The Ducks are 4-0 at Staples Center this season, with wins in Games 3 and 4 of this series and twice during the regular season. But never have they faced the Kings in this situation. LA became only the fourth team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit when they reeled off four straight against the Sharks in the first round.
“You want to know you can win in another team’s building,” said center Nick Bonino. “But we’ve never played LA when their backs are against the wall and one game away from elimination. It’s an unknown for both teams. We’re going to see how hard they come out. We’ll have to match that and play a little harder.”
“Any time you have success in one building, you have the confidence in knowing you can win,” said Beauchemin. “It’s always a big plus, especially going into a Game 6. But we know what they did against San Jose. We know they can do it with all the characters they have. We want to make sure we’re ready.”
OUTDOOR WATCH PARTY
Fans interested in watching tonight’s game with fellow Ducks fans can head to Honda Center at 6:30 p.m. Bring your chairs and sit outside in front of the big screens at Honda Center or watch the game at the Playoff Spot or Puck's Tavern. Temperatures are forecasted to be in the mid-90s at puck drop so plan accordingly and be sure to keep yourself hydrated throughout the evening. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION