Maybe the Kings should start every playoff series one game from elimination. It has certainly worked through two series thus far.
The Kings have reached the Western Conference finals for the third consecutive season, burying the Ducks early in a 6-2 victory in Game 7 on Friday night at Honda Center in Anaheim.
Justin Williams, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards scored goals in the first period. At that point, the Kings could all but book their charter flight to Chicago for the start of the conference finals. The two teams open the series at noon PDT Sunday.
Chicago eliminated the Kings in five games last season.
Getting rid of the Kings has been significantly more difficult this season, and they certainly took care of business again Friday.
The Ducks had a 3-2 series lead, but were unable to close it out at Staples Center in Game 6. The Kings left no doubt that they were in control from the moment the puck was dropped for Game 7.
It made them 6-0 in games where they faced elimination this postseason. The Kings rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to eliminate San Jose in their first-round series.
Teams that have scored first were 25-1 during the playoffs before Friday. The Kings scored five times Friday before the Ducks answered back.
Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik had second-period goals to douse any comeback thoughts for the Ducks. Kopitar has scored at least one point in 13 of the Kings’ 14 playoff games. Gaborik has nine goals, tops in the playoffs this season.
Kyle Palmieri finally interrupted the Kings’ highlight reel with a goal late in the second period. Tanner Pearson scored for the Kings and Corey Perry had a goal for the Ducks in the third period.
Here's a recap of the action:
Kings 6, Ducks 2 (6:06 left in third period)
With the Ducks pressing the action, the Kings break out for a two-on-one rush.
It ends with Tanner Pearson chipping in a goal off a Jeff Carter assist.
Kings 5, Ducks 2 (16:18 in third period)
A frustrating night got a little better for the Ducks’ Corey Perry.
The left wing has been stopped and taunted by Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Perry finally beat Quick with a wrist shot off a Ryan Getzlaf centering pass early in the third period of Game 7 tonight at Honda Center in Anaheim.
Kings 5, Ducks 1 (end of second period)
A rematch in the Western Conference final is 20 minutes away, with the Kings leading the Ducks, 5-1, after two periods in Game 7 of a semifinal series tonight at Honda Center.
The Kings showed up in Game 7. The Ducks haven’t been seen since Game 5.
Anze Kopitar's goal two minutes into the second period for a 4-0 lead helped quickly douse comeback thoughts. At that point, Duck rookie goaltender John Gibson had given up four goals in 18 shots and was replaced by Jonas Hiller.
Last season, the reigning-champion Kings were eliminated by Chicago in five games.
Kings 5, Ducks 1 (2:53 left in second period)
Ah, the Ducks have arrived for Game 7.
Looking at playoff oblivion, the Ducks finally got active in front of Kings’ goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Anaheim left wing Kyle Palmieri, stationed on the side of the crease, jammed home a pass from center Andrew Cogliano to ruin Quick’s shutout bid.
Kings 5, Ducks 0 (5:42 left in second period)
Billy Goat Tavern is also a fun night out in Chicago.
Oh, and Marian Gaborik scored the Kings' third power-play goal of the night. It was his ninth goal of the playoffs.
Teams Gaborik have played for are 6-0 in Game 7s.
Kings 4, Ducks 0 (17:48 left in second period)
Tip for Kings fans traveling to the Western Conference final: Gino’s East in Chicago makes pretty good pizza.
Unless something radical happens -- like the Ducks showing up tonight -- that’s where the Kings are headed next.
Kings forward Kyle Clifford -- laying on the ice -- managed to slip the puck to center Anze Kopitar, who raced in and flicked a wrist shot past Ducks goaltender John Gibson.
Gibson, a 20-year-old rookie who had a stellar start to the playoffs, has been replaced by veteran and former starter Jonas Hiller.
Kings 3, Ducks 0 (end of first period)
The Kings came out with purpose in the first period of Game 7 tonight in the Western Conference semifinal series against the Ducks. That resulted in two goals in the first eight minutes and an eventual 3-0 lead after one period at the Honda Center.
The Kings didn’t just establish momentum, they made the Ducks look like black-clad pylons through the 20 minutes. Justin Williams, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards scored goals. The Kings also hit the post twice with shots during the period.
Teams have a 25-1 record when scoring first in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Kings scored the first three … so far. The team that has scored first has won all six games in this series.
The Ducks were flat from the opening faceoff. The Kings spent the first minute getting scoring chances without the Ducks being able to clear the puck.
That relentless pressure paid off when the Ducks failed to clear the puck a couple of minutes later. Dustin Brown forced a turnover. Slava Voynov got off a shot that Mike Richards redirected and Williams pounced on the rebound, poking it past goaltender John Gibson just 4 minutes 30 seconds into the game.
It was Williams' sixth goal in a Game 7 during his career.
Four minutes later, Carter came up with the puck on a turnover by Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler, skated past Anaheim defenseman Hampus Lindholm and tucked in a backhander.
The Kings could all but book their charter for Chicago and the Western Conference finals when Richards outworked three Ducks’ players and banged in a rebound 15 minutes into the period.
Moments earlier the Ducks missed a scoring chance. Anaheim forward Corey Perry was awarded a penalty shot after being slashed by defenseman Drew Doughty. But Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick poked the puck away from Perry before he could get off a shot.
Jake Muzzin, part of the Kings’ top defenseman tandem, left the game with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Muzzin, who is averaging 25 minutes a game this series, was hit by Devante Smith-Pelly in the corner and went to the dressing room.
Muzzin returned later in the period.
Kings 3, Ducks 0 (4:50 left in first period)
What time does the Kings’ charter leave for Chicago tomorrow?
Mike Richards outworked half the Ducks team to bang in a rebound for the Kings' third goal. Dwight King and Kyle Clifford earned the assists.
Moments earlier the Ducks missed a scoring chance. Anaheim winger Corey Perry was awarded a penalty shot after being slashed by Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. But Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick poked the puck away from Perry before he could get off a shot.
Jake Muzzin, part of the Kings’ top defenseman tandem, left the game with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Muzzin, who is averaging 25 minutes a game during the series, was hit by Devante Smith-Pelly in the corner and went to the dressing room.
Kings 2, Ducks 0 (11:12 left in first period)
The Ducks looked cooked in the first period.
Jeff Carter got free on a breakaway and slipped a backhander past goaltender John Gibson. It was his fourth goal of the playoffs. Marian Gaborik and Jake Muzzin were credited with assists on the play.
The Kings haven’t just established momentum, they have made the Ducks look like black-clad pylons.
Kings 1, Ducks 0 (15:30 left in first period)
Justin Williams strikes again.
The Kings forward poked in a goal on a power play. He has six goals in six Game 7s during his career.
The Ducks nearly cleared the puck, but Kings winger Dustin Brown forced a turnover.
A shot by defenseman Slava Voynov was redirected by Mike Richards and the puck bounced off goaltender John Gibson. Williams was perched in front of the crease, waiting for the rebound.
Will Game 7 between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks be the curtain call for legendary Finnish winger Teemu Selanne?
Can the Kings win for a sixth time while facing elimination?
The puck is about to drop at Honda Center in Anaheim for the deciding game in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal playoff series.
Maybe it's fitting that their first meeting in the postseason has come down to a Game 7.
The winner advances to the conference final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
If the Kings win, they head to Chicago. If the Ducks win, the Blackhawks head to Anaheim.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun