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Ducks, Kings each claim underdog role in Game 7

by Corey Masisak


(Best-of-7 series tied 3-3)


Big story: The Los Angeles Kings will try to win a sixth consecutive elimination game and advance to the Western Conference Final for the third straight year, and the Anaheim Ducks are looking reach the NHL's final four for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007.

For the second straight round, a series featuring two teams from California will need a winner-take-all Game 7. Anaheim and Los Angeles have scored 13 goals apiece in this series, just as the Kings and San Jose Sharks each scored 21 before their deciding game.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter said after Game 6 that his team is the underdog. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau disagreed Thursday.

"Does anybody believe … you can ask anybody [in the media] who they think the underdog is, and the underdog is us," Boudreau said. "They've already went through five Game 7's in the playoffs already. They've been there. They've won the Stanley Cup. I thought it was pretty funny when Darryl said that, and he actually said it with a straight face. I don't know who he's trying to buffalo, but it sure isn't us."

Team Scope:

Kings: Los Angeles has plenty of experience in Game 7s, including three forwards (Justin Williams, Mike Richards, Marian Gaborik) who are 5-0 in series-deciding games. Williams is the headliner of the group, and his reputation in these situations precedes him. He has five goals and 10 points in his five Game 7s.

"I don't think you can really prepare much for this," Williams said. "You just go out and trust your instincts and, hopefully, they'll bring you to success."

Ducks: There is a finality for one side of every Game 7, and for Anaheim beyond winning and defeating their Southern California rival, it would extend the career of forward Teemu Selanne. The 43-year-old has said he will retire after this season, and he's had a strong series for the Ducks.

"We know that is could be everybody's last game for the season. Teemu is incredibly important to this organization," defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. "The Samuelis own the team but Teemu has been the team forever. But tomorrow night, this is bigger than Teemu. This is for our season.

"We need to be ready to go for everybody. For all 20 guys. For the hundreds of people that work for this team. This is obviously an incredibly important game."

Who's hot: Kings forward Trevor Lewis scored six times in 73 games during the regular season; he has a goal in back-to-back games and has scored four times this postseason. … Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf has seven points in the series, including at least one in every game except for Game 6.

Injury report: Kings defenseman Willie Mitchel (undisclosed) skated Thursday with teammates during an optional practice; he hasn't played in this series. Defenseman Robyn Regehr (undisclosed) is out. … Ducks defenseman Stephane Robidas (broken leg), forward Matt Beleskey (lower body) and goaltender Frederik Andersen (lower body) are out.

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