May 20, 2014, 9:49 AM EDT
The Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks both know first hand just how hard it is to beat the Los Angeles Kings when their backs are against the wall, but they’re not the only ones.
Since Darryl Sutter took over as head coach, the Kings have been practically unbeatable when it matters the most.
There’s only one team they’ve been forced to look up to and its the one they’re facing in the Western Conference Final for the second straight season. The Chicago Blackhawks have beaten them in eight of their last nine meetings, making Kings forward Justin Williams question if Los Angeles can really regard this as a rivalry yet.
“A rivalry only exists when the other team wins,” Williams said, per LA Kings Insider. “We haven’t beat them yet. We have that set for us and we need to rise to the challenge.”
Williams pointed to Chicago’s fast defense as part of the reason for its success.
“If we’re just a little off every game, we’re not going to be good because they’ll expose that,” he said. “They’ll have guys swinging, guys stretching and if you give them time they will make you pay.”
The Kings are certainly capable of rising to the challenge and for their part, the Blackhawks didn’t want to read too much into their regular season success against Los Angeles and it seems doubtful they’re too excited after capturing Game 1.
There’s still a lot of hockey left. Plenty of time for the Kings to turn this into a genuine rivalry.
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