It all comes down to this. The Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks meet for Game 7 of the Western Final with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final on the line. There, the Eastern Conference champions New York Rangers await, but they will only know who their opponent will be after Sunday night.
While the Blackhawks have persevered to erase a 3-1 series deficit to force this decisive game, the Kings have been here before - and have excelled in such a position. They have already played two Game 7s in these playoffs - both on the road - and won both. After failing to eliminate the defending champs twice already, the Kings will hope that the third time will be the charm.
In preparation for Game 7, Los Angeles head coach Darryl Sutter gave his insights on what to expect on Sunday.
An interview with:
NHL Public Relations
June 1, 2014
Q. Is part of bouncing back and being resilient the ability to put the soft ones or the bad ones behind you and keep going?
COACH SUTTER: Just looking at last game for the most part. We bounced back from the Smith goal. We’re not going to score all fancy goals.
Q. Have you been surprised at some of the goals that have gotten behind these two goaltenders?
COACH SUTTER: Just been a lot of traffic and both teams putting pucks at the net.
With the skill sets of some of the players, they're able to probably challenge the goalies more one-on-one than we would see maybe in the regular season.
Q. How would you assess the play of your second line the last couple of games? Are you happy with their overall play?
COACH SUTTER: Ask that question again. Who is that second line?
Q. Jeff's line.
COACH SUTTER: They played pretty well for us.
Q. Do you have any special Game 7 memories that stick out above others, either as a player or as a coach?
COACH SUTTER: I remember Game 7 against Pat Burns, who I looked up to when I was a young coach, I remember that one against Toronto. It was an old Norris division match-up. I remember that Game 7.
I remember obviously losing Game 7, Stanley Cup Final against Tampa.
The other ones, there's quite a few of them. I can't quite honestly remember.
Q. 5-1, the road teams in Game 7s this playoff season. Is it just roll of the dice? Coincidence? You've always said you like home ice for Game 7.
COACH SUTTER: I'd prefer Game 7 as a head coach at home because there might be one time during the game where you get -- there's not much advantage in home ice anymore other than one change. As I said before, the buildings are pretty much the same. You know the glass and boards.
The officials, this will probably be the third time we have this set of officials in the series. They know what's going on. All those things have become more the same.
So in terms of the home/road, other than maybe once during the game when you get a little bit of an edge maybe on a change or something like that. But I don't think there's any luck involved or any of that.
*Transcript courtesy of ASAP Sports