All that is standing between the
If this script sounds like a recycled one — local teams on the verge of a playoff showdown — you would be correct. Last year, the Ducks needed to win Game 7 in Anaheim against Detroit and stumbled badly, putting the playoff vision of Kings vs. Ducks straight back in turnaround.
A year later, the obstacles for the Kings are considerably more daunting against the
There is "the Cage," the arena commonly known as SAP Center in San Jose. It's been intimidating and inhospitable and the Kings have won one playoff game there since 2011, staving off elimination in Game 5. Plus, there's that "Beat L.A.," chant, a mantra apparently in desperate need of an update.
"Whatever. I don't think it's the best chant I've ever heard," Kings defenseman
Williams already has a vaunted reputation as a Game 7 closer. He is 4-0 in Game 7s with nine points, five of them goals, including two in last year's Game 7 win over the Sharks at
"He's been in this position in times before," Kings goalie
This time, that Game 7 timetable was moved up, by necessity. Williams went pointless in the series in the first three games, but scored twice in Game 4 and had two goals and an assist in Game 6 on Monday. He did not score in the final six games of the regular season.
"He just loves — he loves this time but he loves the pressure situations and he seems to just embrace it," Kings center
"Man, does he ever battle out there. It doesn't matter how big he is and how big the other person is. For a guy as competitive he is, he usually comes up with the puck, and he's a really big emotional leader for our team. I guess just leading us with how hard he works and how competitive he is with the puck. His personality, I think, just pulls everybody into the fight."
Richards also is 4-0 in Game 7s, and has a chance to be on two teams to rally from a 3-0 playoff deficit. He was with the
Although Kings defenseman
San Jose likely will be without its No. 1 defenseman,
The Kings are 4-4 in Game 7s, and Kings Coach
"I think he's been more vocal the last couple games," Richards said. "The first two he was trying to let us figure it out and after we didn't figure it out he started taking control a bit."