The 2014 NHL playoffs started off with an unpredictable first round that few fans expected could be replicated in the second round.
As we stand on the precipice of both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals, the second round was even more intense than the first and hockey fans can’t help but be entertained by the chippy nature of each series.
With only one second-round series still underway—Los Angeles and Anaheim play Game 7 on Friday—here is the latest TV schedule for the announced games and a look at the updated bracket.
*Bracket via NHLPlayoffsBracket.com.
|Date||Time (ET)||Matchup||Watch||Predicted Winner|
|Friday, May 16||9 p.m.||Los Angeles vs. Anaheim (Game 7)||NBCSN||Los Angeles|
|Saturday, May 17||1 p.m.||New York vs. Montreal (Game 1)||NBC||Montreal|
Breaking Down Kings vs. Ducks Game 7
The second round is almost over, but there is still one game left to play: the Game 7 matchup in the Western Conference semifinals between the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings.
While California isn’t normally thought about when it comes to ice hockey, both Los Angeles and Anaheim are top franchises in the league and viable championship contenders.
Arash Markazi of ESPN spoke on Twitter about what this California series means and how everyone expected it to go to seven games:
We waited 20 years for Kings-Ducks in the playoffs. No way this wasn't going seven.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) May 15, 2014
After the Kings took a decisive two-game series lead by winning Game 1 and Game 2 on the road, the Ducks bounced back and stole the show in Game 3 and Game 4 on the road as well. The teams once again swapped victories (this time at home), with Anaheim winning Game 5 and Los Angeles bouncing back in Game 6.
Now Game 7 will take place Friday night at the Honda Center.
Kings head coach Darryl Sutter told Kristen Shilton of USA Today about playing in the second Game 7 of the postseason for his team and competing against the top team in the west:
This Game 7 is probably harder than the first. You're another two weeks in, so it's another level of team. You're going into a building against a team that's 16 points ahead of us, so you can talk all you want, there is a big underdog going against the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
While Los Angeles may be the underdog, ESPN’s stats department talked about just how good the team has been during elimination games:
Kings force Game 7 with Ducks. The Kings are 5-0 when facing elimination this postseason— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 15, 2014
The stage has been set for the Kings to steal this victory. While the Ducks have gotten elite play from young netminder John Gibson, the pressure of Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs is not something a player can prepare for.
Who ya got?
Behind their own offensive tandem of Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik—as well as a deeper overall group of forwards—the Kings should have the firepower to put the Ducks on ice and advance to the conference finals.
Predicted Winner: Los Angeles Kings
*Stats via NHL.com.