Should you imagine captain Anze Kopitar, the Kings are proper the place they wish to be after seven months and 88 video games: dealing with at the least 60 extra minutes of hockey Saturday that might resolve the destiny of their season.

“Should you advised us that we’ve obtained to win one recreation to advance, we’d actually take the chance,” stated Kopitar, looking forward to Sport 7 of his crew’s first-round Stanley Cup playoff sequence with the Edmonton Oilers. “You’ve obtained to prepare for one recreation. That’s all there’s to it.”

Nevertheless, Kopitar may not take the route that obtained his crew up to now. With an opportunity to shut out the sequence at residence on Thursday, the Kings noticed the Oilers a two-goal lead, rallied to tie the sport within the third interval, then gave up two targets within the closing 5 minutes and 10 seconds to lose 4-2 at Enviornment.

That pressured the crew into one other three-hour flight to Edmonton on Friday for a decisive seventh recreation. However even coach Todd McLellan was embracing the circumstances.

“We like this case,” he stated. “If someone stated ‘Hey, the L.A. Kings towards the Edmonton Oilers, go play for one recreation?’ We’re not notably comfortable how we obtained to it. However we are able to’t do something about that now.

“So let’s look forward. We gained there earlier than. We are able to win there once more.”

In actual fact, two of the Kings’ three wins within the sequence have are available Edmonton. And throughout the common season, the crew was higher on the highway than it was at residence.

“We’ve been comfy on the highway all yr,” McLellan stated. “We’re fantastic. We’ve performed in some actually powerful buildings towards some actually good groups. So it’s not like I’ve to stroll within the [locker] room and sprinkle some pixie mud throughout them to get them to play.

“They’ve performed on the highway they usually really feel assured now.”

There’s yet one more issue working within the Kings’ favor. It’s been 20 years since they misplaced the seventh recreation of a postseason sequence. They’ve gained 4 such video games since then, most not too long ago three on the highway in 2014. However Kopitar is one in every of simply three Kings in uniform who was on that squad.

Dustin Brown checks Edmonton’s Kris Russell into the boards.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Occasions)

“It’s been some time since we did it,” Kopitar stated. “So we’ll refocus tomorrow. We’ll do no matter we have to do to be contemporary and we’ll go up and attempt to win a recreation.”

The Kings have been up and down all through this sequence, giving up 14 targets in back-to-back video games, then shutting the Oilers out within the subsequent one. On Thursday they had been just a little little bit of each.

They had been lax early, giving up a purpose to Connor McDavid within the first two minutes of the opening interval and one other to King nemesis Evander Kane within the opening two minutes of the second interval.

However then they bore down, rallying again to tie the sport on Sean Durzi’s second-period power-play purpose — simply the third the Kings have scored in 24 probabilities — and Carl Grundstrom’s purpose 29 seconds into the ultimate interval.

The Kings couldn’t end it off although, with a mistake resulting in Tyson Barrie’s go-ahead purpose on a slapshot from the highest of the suitable faceoff circle with 4:50 to play. Kane accounted for the ultimate purpose, his seventh of the sequence, on an empty-netter within the closing minute.

However reasonably than mourning the loss, McLellan shortly turned the web page. His younger crew had come so near profitable the sequence, solely to should get on a aircraft and wait two days to strive it once more, This was an expertise they may draw on, he stated.

“We’ve had a gown rehearsal,” he stated. “I don’t suppose I’m going to want to go in there and provides them any kind of let’s-win-one-for-the-Gipper-type speeches. There’s sufficient management in there and there’s plenty of proud guys in that room.

“We’re going to go play a hockey recreation. We imagine on the finish of the evening we are able to win.”


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