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Los Angeles vs. Chicago

Tuesday, 06.4.2013 / 3:19 PM CT
By Stu Grimson - TV Analyst / Stu Grimson's Blog
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Stu Grimson is attending to some other duties today so I’m going to guest in under his Kings/Blackhawks blog and set up tonight’s Game Three.

This is a completely different situation from the hot knife through butter that was last year’s LA Kings team.  They’ve been down 2-0 in each series so far and had to battle through an extremely physical one against St. Louis before being pushed to the edge in the Sharks series.  Is fatigue a factor?

It would be hard to argue otherwise, especially since last year’s team got far more rest between series yet managed to stay sharp (also tough to do).  If anything, this really is the manifestation of the hard series against the Blues showing itself because Chicago also had to go seven against Detroit but certainly hasn’t been in a physically punishing series yet.

Of course the Kings aren’t making excuses, but they are missing key contributions from two of last year’s biggest playoff heroes: Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar.  Both players are certainly aware that they need to produce and have not ducked that responsibility, even with the media.  They realize for the Kings to beat Chicago they have to step up and put the puck in the net.  It will also help take the pressure off Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, although it’s notable that only Richards has double-digit points at 10.  Slava Voynov is right there tied for second on the team with Carter at nine points.

Largely the Kings have been getting it done by committee, spreading the scoring around and relying on Jonathan Quick to do the rest.  But now they find themselves facing a teamwith tremendous depth in Chicago that can put the puck in the net over all four lines, and instead of winning 1-0 or 2-1 it now becomes a race to three or four goals – a game that Chicago is more adapted to playing.

Ultimately the Kings haven’t dropped a game at home in 73 days.  They’ve won 14 in a row at home, seven of those have been in this post-season.  Tonight they need to set the tone and attack the Blackhawks early.  Playing with the lead is what will get LA a much-needed win tonight in Game Three.

Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 55 35 16 4 153 127 74
2 DAL 52 33 14 5 169 137 71
3 STL 54 29 17 8 128 128 66
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 50 27 19 4 145 132 58
6 COL 54 27 23 4 146 148 58
7 NSH 52 24 20 8 130 137 56
8 ANA 49 24 18 7 106 113 55
9 MIN 51 23 19 9 126 122 55
10 ARI 51 24 21 6 136 156 54
11 VAN 51 20 19 12 119 138 52
12 CGY 49 22 24 3 129 145 47
13 WPG 50 22 25 3 129 143 47
14 EDM 52 21 26 5 130 151 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 52 10 27 -4 37
S. Weber 52 13 20 -6 33
J. Neal 52 18 13 16 31
M. Ribeiro 52 6 25 1 31
F. Forsberg 52 14 16 -9 30
M. Ekholm 52 6 16 1 22
R. Ellis 51 6 15 0 21
C. Smith 52 11 6 -1 17
C. Wilson 36 4 12 0 16
C. Jarnkrok 51 8 7 -3 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 19 17 7 .903 2.51
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36