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PHT Morning Skate: Battle for California ends tonight

May 16, 2014, 8:06 AM EDT

Jonathan Quick Jonathan Quick

Game 7: Los Angeles Kings at Anaheim Ducks [Series tied at 3-3] (9:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Los Angeles Kings have already faced elimination five times in the 2014 playoffs. Can they survive a sixth time?

“When you’ve done special things together, you have the confidence no matter what happens to do that again,” Kings forward Mike Richards said, per NHL.com. “That’s a big thing in playoffs. When you’re down in a game, down in the series, you’ve been through comebacks and good things with the guy beside you, it is a good thing to lean on.”

If this game comes down to who has the most experience, then the Kings are likely to come out on top.

The Ducks aren’t a fresh faced team. Not only do they have 43-year-old Teemu Selanne, but their two biggest offensive contributors — Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry — can both still remember raising the Stanley Cup in 2007. However, many of the Ducks’ secondary scorers and some of their key defensemen are still pretty young. More importantly, they’ve been leaning on 20-year-old goaltender John Gibson, who had just three games worth of NHL experience going into this series.

He’s one of the main reasons the Ducks have made it this far in the series despite a mistake in Game 6 that cost Anaheim dearly.

At least it doesn’t sound like it impacted his confidence.

“Yeah, it was just one shot,” Gibson said. “Missed it. It happens.”

Gibson might be the least experienced when it comes to handling the pressure of a Game 7, but it’s crunch time for everyone.

For Selanne, it’s a chance to extend his career so that his final act as a player isn’t congratulating the rival Kings. For Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, it’s an opportunity to finally make it to a conference final. For Kings forward Marian Gaborik, it’s about preserving his shot at winning the Stanley Cup for the first time before he faces the uncertainty of the free agent period.

The winner of this game will establish themselves as the top team in California this year and set their sights on the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

  1. hunterdoerksen - May 16, 2014 at 8:22 AM

    I want the Ducks to win. And it is for a stupid reason. I just like to see as much difference as possible between each year’s conference finals. Got my wish in the East, potential for half in the West.

    • blomfeld - May 16, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      Request Denied !

    • chicagobtech - May 16, 2014 at 11:19 AM

      That’s the reason I want the Ducks to win. The Blackhawks beat the Kings last year, two years in a row for the WCF would be a bit boring.

      • patthehockeyfan - May 16, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        For Hawks’ fans, boring? Yes.

        Not for Kings’ fans!

        GKG!!!

  2. patthehockeyfan - May 16, 2014 at 8:23 AM

    Mike Richards has been playing his a$$ off in the playoffs. Hope that continues tonight, and that the rest of the team continues to show its grit. C’mon, Quickie!!!

    A P.S. for areaman714: Ducks’ fans are dumping their tickets, and there are thousands of them available on ticket resale sites.

    GKG!!!

    • 16thearlofderby - May 16, 2014 at 8:40 AM

      richards and others awesome team can bb win – sutter for sure

      quick > gibson

      go kings make patthehockeyfan and blomfeld happy

    • blomfeld - May 16, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      and check this out … here in Vancouver there’s been a ‘run’ on Duck meat like the world was ending ? … you can’t find it anywhere as even Chinese restaurants across town have now taken it off their menus ?

  3. pirovash88 - May 16, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    Hope the Kings get the win and give us that Western Conference Finals rematch we’ve been waiting for.

  4. blomfeld - May 16, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    Earl of Derby XVI and other assorted friends …

    God bless you, God bless our glorious LA Kings and may victory be ours !!!

    GO KINGS GO !!! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. 16thearlofderby - May 17, 2014 at 8:02 AM

    sutter = winner

    not boudreau

    quick > gibson

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