- Pope Francis wins another ‘Person of the Year’ — from gay rights magazine
- Rep. Steve Stockman: Give my campaign $10, and you’ll get an Obama barf bag
- Putin: Russia to buy $15 billion in Ukraine bonds
- Expert: Obamacare ‘death spiral’ fears exaggerated
- Alabama firefighters dig for survivors of apartment blast
- Big Sur wildfire destroys home of firefighting chief
- ‘ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas’ set for mock trial to argue authorship
- Angela Merkel’s third term as Germany’s chancellor to be marked by move to left
- Mega Millions entices with record-setting jackpot: Half a billion so far
- Dennis Rodman heads to North Korea — despite execution, political purge
LA Kings hope home is sweet in Game 7 vs Sharks
EL SEGUNDO, CALIF. (AP) - Although Dustin Brown will always remember raising the Stanley Cup above his head last year, he also remembers the pain of a first-round playoff loss to San Jose one year before the Los Angeles Kings became champions.
So even though the Los Angeles captain is playing in his first Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs on Tuesday night, he’s acutely aware of the stakes when the Kings host the Sharks in the grand finale to a grueling all-California series.
“You don’t know what you’re playing for until you’ve won it,” Brown said Monday after the Kings returned from a 2-1 loss in Game 6.
“So my perspective on the playoffs this year has been completely different from my perspectives the previous years, because I don’t think I fully understood what exactly I was playing for until we put ourselves over the top. It’s kind of the same way with losing. It’s hard to understand what it takes until you lose.”
For the first time in two years, the Kings are one game away from playoff elimination. They never even faced a potential elimination game during their 16-4 rampage to the Cup last year, but the Sharks have pushed them to the brink while moving one win away from their third trip to the Western Conference finals in four years.
The home team has won every game in the series, although home ice meant little to the Kings last season while winning the title as an eighth seed.
They’re hoping the Staples Center ice means everything in Game 7 _ and it has been awfully friendly lately, with 13 consecutive home victories over the past two months and seven straight home playoff wins dating to last year’s Cup clincher.
Although the Kings and Sharks are separated by just a 45-minute flight, the home team has dominated this series lately, winning all four regular-season meetings as well.
In fact, the home team has won 15 of the clubs’ past 16 meetings in the past two seasons.
“I guess the odds are on our side, but we know anything can happen,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “Everyone wants to win these types of games, and you want to be the hero.”
After three wins apiece, the series has ended up just as both teams expected before it began two weeks ago. Neither team can pull away, with goaltending and special teams largely deciding each matchup.
Although the series has been tight throughout, it hasn’t been disproportionately dramatic. The team scoring the first goal has won every game of the series, and only one major comeback has been made: Los Angeles scored two power-play goals in the final minutes to steal Game 2 after blowing an early two-goal lead.
The Sharks forced Game 7 by winning three of the series’ past four games, all by a 2-1 margin. While the Kings can rely on their championship pedigree, San Jose has momentum and plenty of veteran experience.
“It’s definitely a stressful situation, but it’s the most fun I’ve had playing hockey,” said Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle, who has won a Game 7 three times in his career, including a Stanley Cup win with Tampa Bay in 2004.
“I’ve got to do it three times now. It’s the best time to play. I just try not to make it a bigger deal than what it actually is. Go out and enjoy it. Just don’t overthink it, or it can get the best of you.”
By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
- PRUDEN: The scam that will not die
- Wasted: Tom Coburn's 'Wastebook targets 70 days in bed, Facebook
- Robert E. Lee and 'Stonewall' Jackson tributes face Army War College removal
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Zadzooks: The Joker sixth scale figure review (Sideshow Collectibles)
- House seeks Fast and Furious gun-walking documents
- Army to cut up to 4,000 captains and majors
- Embassy Row: India strikes back over diplomat's arrest
- Domino's launches its first vegan pizza
- OBAMASCARE: Huge premium hikes rock employer-insured workers
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow