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|Kings' frustration beginning to show|
|Written by Denis Gorman|
|Monday, 11 June 2012 01:19|
The Los Angeles Kings now have a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup on home ice for the second time in their series with the New Jersey Devils. The question now, is whether or not frustration has taken hold in the Kings' locker room.Was it hubris or confidence masquerading collective concern?
Only the Los Angeles Kings know for sure.
The Kings returned to Southern California in the very wee hours following their worst game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final that was not as close as the score indicated.
The Kings lead the best-of-seven series three games to two. Game Six is Monday night at the Staples Center and that marks the first time in this year's playoffs that the Kings have had to play more than five games in a series.
Los Angeles, which led the series 3-0 after the first three games, has lost Games 4-5 by an aggregate 5-2. Included was last Wednesday’s 3-1 loss in Game 4 at the Staples Center. The Kings have a 5-3 record at home during the playoffs.
“You failed a couple times now. We all know how big this is. It would certainly be nice to finish it off at home and get it done,” Anze Kopitar told reporters Sunday when asked for the Kings’ mindset going into the series’ potential penultimate game Monday night. It's going to take a big effort from everybody to finish it off. I thought we had a pretty good [first] period last night but then we got away from it a little bit. That's probably the case. When you do go down, you try to do a little extra stuff, you go away from your program.
“We're still in obviously a really good spot. If somebody would have told us that we were going to go up 3-2 going home to have the chance to close it out, I think everybody would sign that paper. It's just a matter of going out there and getting it done.”
Game 6 will mark the third straight game that the Kings have an opportunity to win the franchise’s first Cup since joining the NHL in 1967. The Kings lost in their only other Stanley Cup Final appearance, a five-game dismissal at the hands of the Canadiens in 1993.
During Game 5, the Kings became frustrated for the first time in their run to the Cup Final, highlighted by noted pugilist Jeff Carter’s sweatering of Martin Brodeur when both teams congregated in the Devils’ goaltender’s crease late in the third period.
How much of that had to do with perceived assorted sins eventually boiling over after roughly 15 2/3 periods of hockey or irritation over having scored just two goals in almost 120 minutes is up to individual interpretation.
The Devils aren’t particularly interested in the whys or wherefores. The Eastern Conference Champions focus is on making sure that the Kings’ collective exasperation continues
To, say, a winner-take-all Game 7 in Newark’s Prudential Center Wednesday night.
“I don't know about 'lost their composure.' You could see some frustration,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said during his media availability in Los Angeles when he was asked about the Kings’ lack of composure in Game 5. “Understandable. That's the spot we want to put them in. We want to keep that pressure on them.”
Added Brodeur: “We work hard on playing a good defensive game. We like to have the puck, so that takes away a little bit of the other team's offense. They're skilled guys [and] we have a lot of respect. We don't want to give them too many options.”
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Photos by Getty Images