The Kings are playing smarter, being more attentive to the game's finer points and are making better decisions situation to situation.
If they were to win Game 5 Wednesday at
"When you go against a team like Chicago, they're highly skilled, but we feel like we can play with them," Kings center
"If we're going to beat them, we've got to show up in all areas of the game. That includes thinking, doing the right things, reading plays right. Whatever it takes."
The Kings' commitment to being better in the minutiae extends to faceoffs.
Thanks mostly to centers
"It takes 15-20 seconds off the clock [and it's] easier to kill 1:40 than 2:00," Kings goalie
"First of all, you have to have the puck," Sutter said. "The big thing is try to win the faceoff and get possession, then not over-pass the puck. There's an old-time [saying] about, 'Not passing the puck into the net.' Sometimes, guys — skill players, top-end guys — pass it around and go past their best opportunity.
"So you try to keep them to one or two passes, [study] where to shoot from, where the other team's tendencies are, and make sure someone is always in front of the net. Every goal we scored, it was set up with the goalie screened."
After surviving six elimination games in the first two playoff rounds, the Kings are cruising, thanks to grunt work such as blocking 60 shots to Chicago's 35 in the last three games.
"We've had some decent looks and all of a sudden you get a stick or a block," Chicago Coach
On the other end, the Kings concentrate on blocking the goalie's vision. In Monday's 5-2 victory at
Then, instead of pounding Blackhawks defenseman
Now comes the chance to ice it.
"We're in a good place, understanding we're playing a good hockey team and will get their full charge," Sutter said.
Quenneville said he's telling his team, "You're down 3-1, you're at home, you got nothing to lose. … We want to make sure we're playing a game, 'Hey, let's play all out. Have fun in our building. And let's recapture the momentum.'"
He had 29 goals and 40 assists in the regular season, but Chicago forward Patrick Kane has been restricted to one assist in this series, and the move to put him on the same line with captain
Sutter said the Kings well remember it was Kane whose double-overtime goal eliminated them last year, but they also have high respect for his ability and watch him by committee, with defenseman
"Really, we haven't shut him down," Sutter said. "He's had some glorious opportunities. … You just want to find ways from letting them having a big game."
The Kings advanced through San Jose (ranked fifth in the NHL with 249 regular-season goals) and the