The Los Angeles Kings were able to force Game 7 against the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Semifinals, setting up a win-or-go-home matchup on Friday.
Thanks to goals from Jake Muzzin and Trevor Lewis, the Kings were able to keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive, winning 2-1 on Wednesday. Now, the Kings will be heading to Anaheim to determine which team will head to the conference finals to play the Chicago Blackhawks.
As ESPN's Arash Markazi points out, this Kings-Ducks series has been worth the wait.
We waited 20 years for Kings-Ducks in the playoffs. No way this wasn't going seven.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) May 15, 2014
With Game 7 set for Friday, let's take a look at the viewing information as well as a preview and prediction for the final game of the series.
Date: Friday, May 16
Time: 9 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Network
Los Angeles Kings at Anaheim Ducks (Series Tied 3-3)
The Ducks had all of the momentum heading into Game 6, winning the past three games to take the series lead and keep the Kings' backs against the wall.
However, that doesn't ever seem to bother the Kings, as they've already been in some tight situations this year.
In the first round, the Kings were down 3-0 against the San Jose Sharks, and it looked like there was no way they'd be able to advance to the next round. The Kings were able to rally, though, winning four straight games to pull off the epic comeback.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Kings are 5-0 this postseason when facing elimination:
Kings force Game 7 with Ducks. The Kings are 5-0 when facing elimination this postseason— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 15, 2014
The pressure doesn't seem to get to the Kings, and captain Dustin Brown feels that this experience has helped them in this series against the Ducks.
"It's a result (of the fact that) this group has been through a lot of things, being in these very uncomfortable situations," Brown told the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "When you have that trust and experience with each other, it puts it in perspective. We've been through a lot worse."
Along with a ton of experience in pressure situations, the Kings have succeeded all season because of their strong defense.
During the regular season, they ranked first in goals allowed, giving up just 2.05 per game. That defense has been put to the test in this series, as the Ducks led the NHL with 3.21 goals scored per game this year.
The key for the Kings on offense will be for Marian Gaborik to stay hot. He had 16 points in 19 games since moving from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Kings, but he's been on fire in this series, recording five goals and three assists in six games.
Who will win Game 7?
The Ducks will need their top two scorers from the regular season to find the back of the net more than they have in this series.
Although Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry combined for 74 goals in the regular season, they've combined for just two in this series.
I fully expect everyone on both sides to be dialed in and focused, but the deciding factor is going to be Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
He's been giving up 2.78 goals per game in the playoffs as opposed to 2.07 goals in the regular season, but Joe Fortenbaugh of the National Football Post notes that he's excelled during his career in Game 7s:
Kings-Ducks going the distance. Jonathan Quick career in Game 7: 2-0, .969 save percentage.— Joe Fortenbaugh (@JoeFortenbaugh) May 15, 2014
Quick looked good after saving 21 of 22 shots against him in Game 6, and he should be just as good in Game 7 to help the Kings advance to the conference finals.
Prediction: Kings 3, Ducks 1