NHL

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Kings face short turnaround for Game 1 of Western Conference final against Blackhawks

  • Print

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 travelled 1,700 miles to Chicago on the eve of Game 1 of the Western Conference final.

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 centre 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 centre 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.

Los Angeles is hoping for the return of injured defencemen 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 defenceman 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

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Stuart Murray announces musical RightsFest for CMHR opening weekend

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local- (Standup Photo). Watcher in the woods. A young deer peers from the forest while eating leaves by Cricket Drive in Assiniboine Park. A group of eight deer were seen in the park. 060508.
  • KEN GIGLIOTTI  WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / July 23 2009 - 090723 - Bart Kives story - Harry Lazarenko Annual River Bank Tour - receding water from summer rains and erosion  damage by flood  and ice  during spring flooding -  Red River , Lyndale Dr. damage to tree roots , river bank damage  , high water marks after 2009 Flood - POY

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How surpised are you by the Bombers’ 4-1 start to the season?

View Results

Ads by Google