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Five keys for LA Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks Game 7

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy
LA Kings force Game 7, beating Anaheim Ducks 2-1
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Los Angeles Kings center Trevor Lewis, left, celebrates his goal as Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson reacts during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey second-round Stanley Cup playoff series, Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)

The Los Angeles Kings visit the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of their Western Conference divisional final on Friday night, starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

We’re live-chatting it tonight on Puck Daddy, but first here are five keys to the game a.k.a. Teemu's potential swan song.

1. Justin Williams

Let’s be honest here: The biggest difference between the Ducks and the Kings is that one team has Mr. Game 7 and one team doesn’t. Williams is 5-0 in Games 7s, has five goals and five assists in Game 7s and has either scored or assisted on the game-winning goal in four of those five games. Can the Kings play him 60 minutes?

2. Gibson vs. Quick

Jonathan Quick righted the ship in Game 6 after three subpar games, stopping 21 of 22 shots. If the same pattern holds from the previous round – three bad games into a stretch of dominance – that bodes well for LA.

Gibson’s the X-factor. The 20 year old Ducks goalie, playing his fourth playoff game, surrendered his first soft goal of the postseason to Trevor Lewis in Game 6. The typically unflappable Gibson shook it off to stop 21 of 23 shots; is he ready to steal the Game 7 spotlight from Quick?

3. New Support for Ducks

Obviously, the offensive stars for the Ducks have to come up big in Game 7. But coach Bruce Boudreau shook up his lower lines, putting Daniel Winnik with center Mathieu Perreault and Teemu Selanne and reuniting a line of Patrick Maroon, center Nick Bonino and right wing Kyle Palmieri that thrived in the AHL. [I'm] just trying to create a little bit of chemistry. I think, one [Winnik is] a better skater than [Maroon] and might be able to be a little bit better defensively on that line,” he told NHL.com.

4. The Underdog Mindset

Darryl Sutter has the Los Angeles Kings believing that they’re the underdog. Frankly, the Kings play better that way. “I’d say we are,” said Jarret Stoll. “Sixteen points is a lot. Of course in the regular season with how tight the league is and how good teams are. They’ve had a great regular season last season and this year. They lost a tough Game 7 to Detroit last year at home. We hope to give them that same fate as last season. That’s obviously the goal. They’re a great team. They’ve got a lot of good things going on over there and I’d say a lot of pressure is on them. A lot of pressure is on their goaltender. A lot of pressure is on their entire team to win on home ice.”

5. Finally, Home Ice

The Ducks are a better offensive team in the playoffs (3.33 GPG) than on the road (2.17). The Kings are a worse defensive team on the road (3.00 GAA) than at home (2.33), although much of that was because of the Sharks’ offensive explosion at home. The road team is 4-1 in Game 7s so far in 2014. Although as Darryl Sutter said, “if I had a choice of coaching Game 7, I want it in my house, and I know we’ve been through both.”

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