suntimes
CHOPPY 
Weather Updates

Blackhawks have road-ice advantage at Staples Center

GAME 1

Kings 1
at Hawks 3

GAME 2

Kings 6
at Hawks 2

GAME 3

7 p.m. Saturday
at Kings, Ch. 5

GAME 4

8 p.m. Monday
at Kings, NBCSN

GAME 5

7 p.m. Wednesday
at Hawks, NBCSN

GAME 6 if necessary

8 p.m. next Friday
at Kings, NBCSN

GAME 7 if necessary

7 p.m. June 1
at Hawks, NBCSN

Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: May 22, 2014 11:24PM



The Los Angeles Kings seized home-ice advantage in the Western Conference final with their 6-2 victory Wednesday in Game 2 over the Blackhawks. But how big of an advantage is it?

Of the 16 playoff teams, only the New York Rangers (also a conference finalist) had more regulation losses at home than the Kings’ 14 (they were 23-14-4 at Staples Center; the Hawks were 27-7-7 at the United Center). Plus, the Hawks have won three of their last four games in Los Angeles, including a split at Staples Center during last year’s conference final.

“Over the years, we’ve enjoyed going out there,” Duncan Keith said. “At the same time, it’s a tough place to play, and we have to be good. They have the crowd behind them, like any home team would. But over the years, we’ve taken that on and embraced that challenge.”

Said Ben Smith: “What can you do? We have to go out there and win a game in L.A., for sure, and it’s something we’ve done before. [Being able to] draw from that experience is nice.”

The Kings have built a reputation as one of the great road teams in the league — winning the 2012 Stanley Cup as an eighth seed and winning two Game 7s on the road in the first two rounds of this postseason.

“Hey, we had to win in Chicago,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “Otherwise, we have no chance of winning the series. We had to win a game in Chicago at some point. . . . In the playoffs, you don’t steal games. There’s no tricks to it. It’s pretty much straight-up — wait until high noon and get out there.”

No mo

As for any momentum swings in the series, neither team seems terribly concerned. As the last two Stanley Cup champions, both are battle-tested and resilient.

“We don’t fight with confidence,” Sutter said. “I’ve never seen it once. You were probably questioning how we played in Game 1. I thought we played a better game in Game  1 than we did in Game 2. We didn’t leave the game not being confident. If every game you lost, you lost your confidence, then you [reporters] don’t have to cover hockey in April, May and June.”

Sticking with Crow

Corey Crawford had given up only one goal in each of his last three games before giving up five on 30 shots in Game 2. Crawford blamed himself, particularly for the two power-play goals the Kings scored early in the third to take the lead. But coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t concerned about Crawford’s ability to rebound for Game 3.

“One thing about Corey, he’s been fine this entire playoffs,” Quenneville said. “His consistency — how he moves forward to the next game, the next shot, the next challenge — should be commended. We’re going to L.A., and we need him to be big.”

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkLazerus



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.