Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
NHL: Travel-tested L.A. Kings set to face Blackhawks
First Published May 17 2014 08:10 pm • Last Updated May 17 2014 08:14 pm

Chicago • On Friday night, the Los Angeles Kings were in Anaheim for Game 7 of their second-round series against the top-seeded Ducks.

On Saturday, they traveled 1,700 miles to Chicago on the eve of Game 1 of the Western Conference final.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Not much rest for Los Angeles, but certainly better than the alternative this time of year.

The Kings take on the Blackhawks on Sunday afternoon in a short turnaround from their series-clinching 6-2 victory over Anaheim. It is a rematch of last year’s Western Conference final, when the Blackhawks won in five games on the way to their second Stanley Cup title in four seasons.

"It’s not going to be easy, but at this time of year, we know it’s hard," Kings center Anze Kopitar said. "You’ve always got to be excited when you get a chance to play the next round."

Los Angeles is making its third consecutive appearance in the Western Conference final after rallying past San Jose and Anaheim in the first two series.

The Sharks had a 3-0 lead in the first round and the Ducks led 3-2 in their series against the Kings.

Chicago has been waiting for its next opponent since it beat Minnesota 2-1 in overtime in Game 6 on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks had a similar break after they eliminated St. Louis in the first round.

"I think the days off helps every team this time of year, get some rest, allows you to prepare for your opponent," Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said. "At the end of the day, once that puck drops tomorrow, I think both teams are going to be ready to play."

The break between series also provided more time for Chicago forward Andrew Shaw to get healthy. The tenacious center missed the final five games of the Wild series with an apparent right leg injury, but he skated before the Blackhawks practiced on Saturday and could return against the Kings.

story continues below
story continues below

Los Angeles is hoping for the return of injured defensemen Robyn Regehr and Willie Mitchell. Regehr has missed the Kings’ past six games, and Mitchell has been sidelined for eight in a row.

The status of Shaw, Regehr and Mitchell could be a factor in a matchup of the NHL’s second-highest scoring team in Chicago and the stingiest team in the league in Los Angeles.

"L.A.’s really comparable to a St. Louis, maybe just a little deeper in scoring," Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg said. "That’s why they’re a little more dangerous. Have to respect their attack and that they’re one of the best defensive teams in the league and physical as well."

Los Angeles was looking to defend its Stanley Cup title when it took on Chicago in the playoffs last year. But the banged-up Kings were unable to keep up with the high-flying Blackhawks, who got a hat trick from Patrick Kane in the clinching double-overtime victory in Game 5.

Chicago is 9-2 against Los Angeles over the past two years, outscoring the Kings by a 35-24 margin.

"They’re playing really well right now so we’ve got to be focused on what they’ve been doing the last couple series," Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "They’re never out of a game or a series. If we get up, we have to step on their throats. If we’re down we have to work like hell to get back.

"But at the end of the day we have to play our game and focus on what we’ve been doing well throughout the playoffs, get better at that and be the team that we can be."


Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.