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Kings third team to play 21 games in first three rounds

by John Kreiser

The Los Angeles Kings were assured of becoming the third team in NHL history to play all 21 possible games through three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with their 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final on Friday.

Los Angeles will be trying to become the first team ever to win Game 7s in each of the first three rounds of the playoffs when it faces Chicago at United Center on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). Before the Kings this postseason, the only teams to play every possible game through three rounds were the 2002 Colorado Avalanche and the 1993 Toronto Maple Leafs; each lost Game 7 in the conference final.

The Kings overcame a 3-0 series deficit to beat the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference First Round, then won the last two games in their second-round series to beat the Anaheim Ducks in seven games. They led the Blackhawks 3-1 in the conference final, but lost 5-4 in overtime in Game 5 before dropping Game 6 at home.

The New York Rangers, who will face the Kings or Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, won Game 7s in each of their first two playoff series before beating the Montreal Canadiens in six games in the Eastern Conference Final.

Having the Western Conference Final go to seven games also assures that the playoffs will at least equal the record for most total games in one playoff season. Game 7 will be the 88th game played this spring, with one round remaining. The most games ever played in one postseason is 92, in 1991, when the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Cup by beating the Minnesota North Stars in six games. Anything more than a four-game sweep in the Cup Final will break that mark.

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