KINGS (11-9) at BLACKHAWKS (11-8)
5:00PM PT, TV: NBC SPORTS NETWORK; RADIO: AM 1150
SEVEN, AGAIN: Tonight presents the third Game 7 situation for the Kings this postseason. They’re the third team in NHL history to play the series limits through the first three rounds. The Toronto Maple Leafs (1993) and the Colorado Avalanche (2002) both played a 21st game before reaching the Stanley Cup Finals. Both teams, though, failed to reach the Finals. Can the Kings be the first NHL team to win three Game 7’s tonight?
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: The Kings buried the San Jose Sharks in a Game 7 at SAP Center – the NHL’s toughest building during the regular season, and also the Anaheim Ducks in a Game 7 at Honda Center – home to the Western Conference’s top club during the regular season. Can the Kings beat the Blackhawks at the United Center, where Chicago is 15-2 in their past 17?
HATS OFF: The last time the Kings played a Game 7 in a Western Conference Finals series on the road, it was against the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 29, 1993 at the Maple Leaf Gardens. Wayne Gretzky scored three goals, including the game-winner, along with an assist to lead the Kings to a 5-4 win.
MADHOUSE MISSION: The Kings have had trouble at Chicago’s United Center in recent times. Dating back to last year’s playoffs, the Kings are 1-7 when playing the Blackhawks in the Windy City, including two overtime playoff losses. The Kings’ lone win on Chicago’s grounds came in Game 2 of this series on May 21st, a stunning 6-2 win. That was also the Kings’ first ever playoff victory against the Blackhawks on the road. Dating back to 1974, the Kings have a 1-8 playoff record against the Blackhawks in Chicago.
WEATHERED: Of the Kings’ roster, the players have a combined 77 games of Game 7 experience. In those situations, those players are 70-7 with and without the Kings in series deciding contests. The Kings have faced elimination six times in their 20 postseason games so far, and they’ve won all six. Can they win their seventh elimination game in Game 7 tonight?
MR. GAME 7:
“ I think most guys treat Game 7’s as an opportunity, an opportunity to do something special, an opportunity to prove yourself, an opportunity, an opportunity to advance and get the better of a team that you battled with for six games,” Justin Williams told Jon Rosen of LAKI Saturday. “It’s going to be no different (today). We obviously have a huge bone to pick with them. We’re going to leave it all out there because there’s no more after that.”