What's buzzing:

LA Kings head home for chance to finish Blackhawks

The Associated Press
LA Kings head home for chance to finish Blackhawks
.

View photo

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) battle …

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Drew Doughty had just played more than 39 minutes in a double-overtime playoff game, and he still couldn't sleep on the Kings' flight back to Los Angeles.

The Western Conference finals have ascended to a new level of tension after the Blackhawks dodged Los Angeles' first attempt to eliminate them. Chicago trimmed its series deficit to 3-2 in an extra-time thriller in Game 5, while the Kings got a sleepless trip home.

Los Angeles gets another chance to advance in Game 6 on Friday night. While the Kings have been incredible in elimination games this spring, Doughty realizes they can't sleep on the opportunity before them at Staples Center.

''We know we can't let it go to a Game 7,'' Doughty said Thursday at the Kings' training complex. ''No matter what, this game has to be ours. It's so important for us to advance to the Stanley Cup Final that we win this game. If we give them this game, they're going to have so much more life, and they're going to be a different team. We need to take that and deal with it.''

Doughty's fellow Kings largely agreed with the star defenseman's pointed declarations as they recovered from their worst defensive performance in 16 games. Jonathan Quick and the NHL's best defensive team gave up five goals to the Blackhawks, who survived despite Corey Crawford's fourth straight unimpressive effort in Chicago's net.

Los Angeles, which blew a lead heading to the third period for the first time this spring, has mostly downplayed the notion of payback for last season's conference finals loss to Chicago. But Doughty thinks it should be on the Kings' minds before what might be the defining game of their season.

''They know how to win,'' Doughty said. ''We also know that they took our Cup back from us last year, so now it's our turn. We want to eliminate this team. They eliminated us last year, and it's our turn to return the favor. We need to go into Staples believing that we can eliminate this team, and do just that.''

While Doughty attempts to keep the Kings focused on Game 6, the Blackhawks intend to remember what got them off the canvas in Game 5 after the previous seven periods of the series were largely dominated by Los Angeles.

Before Game 5, the Blackhawks curiously insisted all the pressure in the series rested on the Kings, not the team facing three straight elimination games. Whether the facile psychological ploy helped or not, the champions still seem to think Los Angeles is the team in trouble.

''We want to stay with the mentality that we're putting all the pressure on them,'' Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said before the club's flight to the West Coast. ''It's going to be tough for them to close it out and win that fourth game against us.''

But the road has been tough on the Blackhawks, who are just 2-6 away from home in the postseason. Chicago was outscored 9-5 and beaten convincingly twice at Staples Center in this series, showing little of the offensive potency that got them to this point.

Coach Joel Quenneville made another round of lineup adjustments to spark his team, and the Blackhawks had immediate success teaming Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw on a new line for Game 5. Kane, a ghost for much of the series, contributed four assists.

''We have our backs against the wall here and face elimination, but we're staying relaxed,'' said Saad, who had three points. ''We've been through it before, and it definitely helps. We've had success on the road before, and L.A. is definitely tough, but we're not going to let that end the season. We can't make any excuses whether we're playing at home or away.''

The Kings spent much of the past month avoiding playoff elimination, already winning six games with their season in the balance, so they can appreciate the Blackhawks' resilience. Chicago produced a three-goal first period and a third-period tying goal before Michal Handzus' overtime winner capped one of the most entertaining NHL postseason games in recent history.

Back home for Game 6, the Kings want their own defining victory.

''I think for the fans, it was unbelievable to watch,'' said Marian Gaborik, who scored his 11th goal of a spectacular postseason. ''But for us, it wasn't the type of game we want to play. You know, trade chances, trade odd-man rushes.

''I think we're going to have a lot of energy (in Game 6). If we win, we can be in the Stanley Cup Final. That itself should give you plenty of energy.''

View Comments (159)
  • Philadelphia Soul win ArenaBowl, beating Arizona 56-42

    Dan Raudabaugh threw six touchdown passes and the Philadelphia Soul won their second ArenaBowl title, beating the Arizona Rattlers 56-42 on Friday night. Shaun Kauleinamoku was selected the game MVP after leading the Soul in receiving with eight … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 hours ago
  • Galaxy-Whitecaps preview

    The Los Angeles Galaxy will try to remain unbeaten at home and improve its playoff position when they plays host to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Los Angeles (9-4-12) is fourth in Major League Soccer's … More »

    AP - Sports - 10 hours ago
  • Fire-DC United preview

    The Chicago Fire seek their second straight road win on Saturday and look to extend a modest unbeaten streak when they face D.C. United in a Major League Soccer clash at RFK Stadium. Chicago (5-11-8, 23 points) picked up its first win of the season … More »

    AP - Sports - 10 hours ago
  • Impact-Toronto FC preview

    The rivalry between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact might be the best in Major League Soccer. The cities, separated by about 330 miles of highway, have been rivals for generations on many levels, including hockey where the Toronto Maple Leafs … More »

    AP - Sports - 13 hours ago
  • Sweden selects Enroth for injured Lerner

    With goaltender Robin Lehner still not fully healthy, Sweden replaced him on its World Cup of Hockey roster with Jhonas Enroth. The Buffalo Sabres' starting goalie was bothered by a right ankle injury for much of last season that limited him to 21 … More »

    AP - Sports - 15 hours ago