After losing an instant-classic against the Chicago Blackhawks in double-overtime in Game 5, the Los Angeles face an unsettling proposition: lose in Game 6 and they’ll be in their third Game 7 of the 2014 postseason.
Technically, Friday’s contest is only a “must-win” for Chicago, yet you could sense Drew Doughty’s urgency about closing things out tomorrow.
The 24-year-old defensive star was absolutely phenomenal in the Kings’ narrow loss on Wednesday. He logged 39:04 minutes of ice time, fired nine shots on goal and finished the night with a +2 rating. Still, his team fell short of earning what would have been a valued week-long rest, as the 2014 Stanley Cup Final will kick off next Wednesday regardless of when the conference finals end.
The Kings face a remarkably similar proposition to what the New York Rangers stare at tonight: one more loss and a 3-1 series lead dissolves into a 3-3 series tie with a Game 7 on the road.
It’s not as if Los Angeles totally flopped in its last attempt to close the Blackhawks out, yet that might make that 5-4 double-OT loss sting that much more.
It’s naturally easier to fight a little harder when your season is literally on the line, but Doughty seems to hope that the Kings come out with the same kind of urgency as their desperate opponents.