Los Angeles Kings: Stanley Cup playoffs

L.A. fans gather to watch Kings win Game 3

June, 9, 2014
Jun 9
10:49
PM PT


LOS ANGELES -- About 2,500 miles away from Madison Square Garden, about 2,500 Los Angeles Kings fans gathered outside of Staples Center on Monday to watch L.A. beat the New York Rangers 3-0 and take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup finals.

The viewing party was held at the Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live, across the street from the Staples Center, where the game was shown on the 22-foot by 40-foot outdoor LED screens, as well as on various flat screens in makeshift beer gardens.

The Kings distributed 2,500 tickets to fans and season ticket holders, who watched the game along with the Kings Ice Crew and the team’s mascot, Bailey, while arena organist Dieter Ruehle and in-arena host Carrlyn Bathe provided the same entertainment they would offer if the game was being played across the street.

Two years ago, the Kings held away-game viewing parties at local bars and considered hosting one inside of Staples Center. But Lee Zeidman, general manager of Staples Center, Nokia Theatre and L.A. Live, explained that NBC, which is broadcasting the Stanley Cup, preferred an outdoor venue similar to what the Rangers had at Bryant Park.

Instead of opening it up to the public, however, the Kings decided to hold a more intimate and confined event that would be easier to police and control.

“We couldn’t open it up to the general public, because we’re confined by how many people we can actually bring down here for something like this,” Zeidman said. “We’re in an urban area. We’re not at park like they had in New York where they can.

“We were limited by what we could do and what we could bring down here. We put a plan together for the fire marshal, and he stamped it and approved a certain number. And that’s what we kept it to.”

On Wednesday, when the Kings try for a series sweep and their second Stanley Cup in three years, Nokia Plaza and Nokia Theatre are booked with the Electronic Entertainment Expo in town. So the team’s ticketed viewing party will take place inside the adjacent Club Nokia, which can hold 2,300 fans.

Depth, versatility offer Kings team strength

June, 9, 2014
Jun 9
10:33
PM PT
NEW YORK -- Are the Los Angeles Kings where they are -- on the precipice of capturing their second Stanley Cup title in the past three seasons -- solely because of a single player?

Nope.

They are where they are because coach Darryl Sutter can roll four different line combinations and three different defensive pairings at any point in any game.

They are where they are because up and down their lineup -- especially down the middle -- they have an abundance of depth.

“I think that’s the strength of our team,” captain Dustin Brown said after the Kings secured a 3-0 series stranglehold with a 3-0 Game 3 victory Monday over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. “That’s where we match up really well against other teams.

“All the teams we’ve played, everybody’s gonna have a really good first line and second line. But our third line and our fourth line, I think they tip the scales in our favor against most teams."

“I mean, that was the difference, I think, against Chicago [in the Western Conference finals]," Brown continued. "It was [Anze Kopitar], me and [Marian Gaborik] playing against [Jonathan Toews] and his line. It was our depth scoring that really helped us in that series and [Monday night]. That’s what being a team is all about -- having everyone contribute.”

On Monday night, everyone did: from second-line center Jeff Carter's opening the scoring with less than a second remaining in the first period to all-world goaltender Jonathan Quick's making 17 saves in the middle frame to No. 1 defenseman Drew Doughty's taking a smart penalty to prevent Rick Nash from tallying what would have been a sure wraparound goal.

Doughty’s partner Jake Muzzin and fourth-line pivot Mike Richards provided insurance markers in the second. Depth defensemen Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene were tremendous in helping stifle the Rangers while the Kings were on the penalty kill.

It was every bit of a team effort.

“Our top players have been playing great,” Doughty said. “But so far in the Stanley Cup finals, you’re not seeing Kopi get a ton of points, you’re not seeing myself get a lot of points [or] Carts.

“It’s been [Kyle Clifford], [Jarret Stoll] and [Justin Williams] and guys like that that are stepping up to the plate, and that’s how you win championships. I know we haven’t won yet, but that’s how you get to the point where we are right now. We need the whole team; that’s the bottom line.”

During the playoffs, 11 different Kings have registered 10 or more points, 11 different Kings have notched game-winning goals and four different Kings have notched winning overtime goals.

Los Angeles leads the NHL by averaging 3.5 goals per game during the postseason, while putting up solid percentages on the power play (24 percent) and penalty kill (83 percent).

Kopitar, the league’s leading playoff scorer (26 points), was asked if the Kings’ depth started at center.

“It’s everybody,” he said. “I think it starts in the back with Jonathan and our defensive pairings. They’ve been really good for us. They’ve been making plays out of the zone, which obviously makes it a little bit easier on the forwards going up the ice.

“We can’t pinpoint anybody out there.”

Rapid Reaction: Hawks 5, Kings 4 (F/2OT)

May, 28, 2014
May 28
10:58
PM PT


CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ 5-4 double-overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals at the United Center on Wednesday:

How it happened: Michal Handzus scored the winner off a pass from Brandon Saad at 2:04 in the second overtime. The Blackhawks forced the first overtime when Ben Smith scored the lone goal in the third period at 1:13. The Kings had built a 4-3 lead after finding themselves two goals behind in the first period. After the Blackhawks went up 3-1 in the first period, the Kings responded with three consecutive goals, one in the first period and two in the second period. Marian Gaborik, Dustin Brown and Tanner Pearson scored the three goals for the Kings. The Blackhawks got the start they wanted, scoring twice in the first four minutes. Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook scored a power-play goal at 1:13, and Johnny Oduya knocked in a rebound from a Patrick Kane shot at 3:40. Jarret Stoll gave the Kings their first goal at 9:40, but less than two minutes later the Blackhawks responded as Saad put them back ahead 3-1. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 41 saves on 45 shots. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 40 of 45 shots.

What it means: The Blackhawks held off elimination and cut the Kings’ series lead to 3-2. The Blackhawks were given a scare as the Kings erased their two-goal lead and pulled ahead of them after two periods, but the Blackhawks, especially Crawford, stepped up when they needed to in the game. Crawford didn’t allow a goal after the Kings scored at 13:08 of the second period. The Blackhawks also bounced back after struggling on special teams in the past few games. They scored a power-play goal for the first time in three games and shut out the Kings’ power play for the first time since Game 1. The Blackhawks’ second line of Saad-Andrew Shaw-Kane was a force most of the game.

Player of the game: Saad was all over the ice for the Blackhawks. He had one goal, two assists, seven shots on net, three hits, three takeaways, two blocked shots, was a plus-4 and won 4 of 8 faceoffs.

Stat of the game: Crawford stopped 19 shots over the last three periods.

What’s next: The series returns to Los Angeles for Game 6 at 8 p.m. CT on Friday. The Kings defeated the Blackhawks in Games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles and are 5-3 at home in the playoffs this season.

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