If there were a book of sports clichés, Chicago winger Patrick Kane and Coach Joel Quenneville would have been looking at Page 1 of the playoff cliché section Wednesday when both said the pressure is squarely on the Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
Kane went as far as to say “all the pressure” is on the Kings.
Let’s see … the Kings lead the series, three games to one. If they lose, the series would go to a sixth game, at Staples Center on Friday. If the Blackhawks lose, their season would be over.
Who really has more pressure?
Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin doesn’t think it’s his team.
“We’ve got to win one game,” he said after the Kings’ morning skate at the United Center. “If they’re trying to say that to make us feel nervous, that’s what it is, but we’ve got enough experience and leadership in here where we know what we have to do. It’s just a matter of going out and doing it tonight.”
Center Anze Kopitar said he doesn’t think the Kings are feeling much pressure.
“We put ourselves in a very good position right now,” he said, “but we realize that it’s going to take our best game to finish this series off.”
Center Jarret Stoll wasn’t surprised to hear what Kane and Quenneville had said.
“If the series was the other way around we’d be saying the same thing,” he said. “We expect them to say that. We’ve got to worry about ourselves, play our way. A lot of the things that have made us successful to this point, we’ve got to continue to do that. We’ve also got to get better in certain areas here and there.
“We know we can be better still. We know we’re going to have to be, because elimination games, we all know, bring out the best in teams, brings out the best in character teams. They’re a character team over there and so are we. It’s going to be a great game.”
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter shrugged off the question, one of only two posed to him during his game-day news conference.
“I think both teams are probably used to pressure. That's how you get to the hundred-game mark or close to hundred-game mark,” whose team will play its 101st game (including regular season) Wednesday, two more than the Blackhawks have played.
“It's what your players want and obviously what they thrive on. I don't think it's more on one team or the other.”Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times