The L.A. Kings are two years removed from a Stanley Cup championship. One year removed from a berth in the Western Conference Final.
Yet their head coach Darryl Sutter seems to think the Anaheim Ducks, because they won the Pacific Division and finished the regular season with 116 points compared to L.A.’s 100, are the favorites going into Game 7 of this second-round series on Friday.
The Kings forced the winner-take-all contest thanks to a 2-1 victory over the Ducks on Wednesday. The winner plays the Chicago Blackhawks in the next round.
One game left to decide which California team becomes the last one standing for this 2013-14 season. The Kings, thanks to their historical come-from-behind series win over the Sharks, have already knocked off one team from that state.
“I think this one, because you’re another two weeks into it, it’s another level of team that you’re talking about. We’re going into a building against a team that finished 16 points ahead of it,” said Sutter, as per LA Kings Insider.
“You can talk all you want – there’s a big underdog going in against the number one seed in the Western Conference.
“We talk about it all the time, about how much of an underdog we are.”
Last night, we passed along news that veteran d-man James Wisniewski — acquired from Carolina at the draft — suffered what looked to be a serious injury just 47 seconds into his ‘Canes debut, and was ruled out for the remainder of the night.
Now, he’s been ruled out for a lot longer than that.
From the club:
Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that defenseman James Wisniewski will undergo surgery on his left knee after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during Thursday night’s game in Nashville.
Recovery time for the injury is estimated at six months.
This is, obviously, a tough development for both player and club. The ‘Canes were counting on Wisniewski to be a regular contributor on defense this year, and help improve last year’s middle-of-the-pack power play.
Wisniewski, meanwhile, was looking to bounce back from a disappointing ’14-15 campaign. He was shipped out of Columbus at the deadline to Anaheim but never made an impact for the Ducks, failing to see any playoff action as Anaheim made it all the way to the Western Conference final.
Two days after an uninspiring performance versus San Jose, the Los Angeles Kings will be getting an injection of youthful enthusiasm tonight versus Arizona.
Coach Darryl Sutter confirmed today that Jordan Weal will make his NHL debut at Staples Center.
A 23-year-old center, Weal is expected to replace Andy Andreoff and skate between Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan on the fourth line.
“It’s really exciting,” Weal told LA Kings Insider. “A lot of work has gone into getting to this part of my career, and the hard work’s just going to continue. It’s going to keep going, and I’m trying to do as much as I can in this game and keep improving from this game moving forward in trying to solidify a solid spot in the lineup.”
The 70th overall pick in 2010, Weal had 69 points in 73 games last season for AHL Manchester.
Related: Jordan Weal is looking to make the leap