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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, June 1st (All times Eastern)

Los Angeles Kings (3-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (3-3), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - A series which once seemed firmly in the hands of the Los Angeles Kings has been stretched to the limit. Now the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks will try to complete a monumental comeback when they host the Kings in Sunday's Game 7 battle at United Center.

The Kings grabbed a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference finals after Monday's 5-2 home victory, but Chicago has responded with two close victories to even this best-of-seven set at three games apiece. The winner of Sunday's clash will meet the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals, after the Blueshirts eliminated Montreal in six games for the Eastern Conference title.

Chicago, winner of two of the league's last four Stanley Cup titles, first staved off elimination with a 5-4 double-overtime win Wednesday on home ice and did it again with Friday's 4-3 decision in Los Angeles. The Blackhawks hope to complete the comeback Sunday in the Windy City, where the club boasts an 8-1 record this postseason and a 19-3 mark since the start of the 2013 playoffs.

The Blackhawks also hold a 13-0 mark after Game 4 in each of the past two postseasons and is seeking another successful comeback from down 3-1 after recording the first one in franchise history last spring. Chicago lost three of the first four games in last year's conference semifinals against Detroit, but won the final three tilts and claimed Game 7 in overtime en route to winning its second Cup since 2010.

If Chicago wins Sunday's contest it will become just the second team in NHL history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit and win the conference finals. Only the 2000 New Jersey Devils, who beat Philadelphia, have overcome a 3-1 series deficit in a conference final and advanced to the fourth and final round.

The Kings, meanwhile, hope to regroup Sunday and avoid being eliminated by Chicago in the West finals for a second straight year. Los Angeles, the 2012 Cup champions, fell in five games to the Blackhawks in 2013 and appeared well on its way towards exacting revenge for that loss before the last two games.

With the Game 6 loss, L.A. became just the third team in NHL history to have its first three playoff series advance to a seventh game in one playoff year. The 1993 Toronto Maple Leafs and 2002 Colorado Avalanche previously saw each of their in-conference playoff matchups reach Game 7s, with the Leafs losing to the Kings and Avs to the Red Wings.

"We've got to win. There is no other option," Kings star defenseman Drew Doughty said of Game 7. "I think we're going to have our best effort of the series next game. All of the guys are going to step up to the plate. Our leaders are going to lead the way. Everyone else is going to follow. We're going to have our best effort."

The Kings, of course, were only the fourth team in NHL history to erase a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series when they beat San Jose in the opening round and then came back from 3-2 down to eliminate Anaheim in seven games during the conference semis. Both of L.A.'s previous Game 7 victories in this postseason also came on the road.

"We know they're a resilient group," Chicago forward Patrick Kane said after leading his team to the Game 6 triumph. "They've won two Game 7s on the road in their first two series. It's going to be a tough one. Right now we're happy we got the win, but it doesn't mean anything because we haven't won anything yet. We'll get ready for the next one and we know they'll bring the best for Game 7."

Kane, last spring's Conn Smythe winner, has been a big part of Chicago's revival in this series, recording seven points over the last two games. After notching four assists in the Game 5 victory, Kane scored two goals and added an assist on Friday.

Kane assisted on the tying goal in Game 6 and then netted the game-winning score late in the third period to force tonight's winner-take-all battle. The speedy forward had been held without a point in the first three games of this series, but has amassed eight points (2G, 6A) over the last three contests.

Ben Smith and Duncan Keith added Game 6 tallies for the Blackhawks, while Corey Crawford picked up the win thanks to 26 saves.

Los Angeles scored the only goal of the first period before Chicago carried a 2-1 lead into the second intermission. The Kings then grabbed a 3-2 lead with a pair of goals in the first eight minutes of the third period before the Blackhawks mounted a comeback.

"I don't think anyone lost confidence or got down after those two goals they scored in the third," Crawford said. "If anything we kept pressing even harder. Some great shots by Duncs and Kaner, some great plays, and we were able to shut then down at the end."

Kane's slick pass on the left wing found Keith at the inner edge of the circle for a successful wrister to knot the game with 8:26 showing. Kane struck once more with 3:45 left in regulation. He trailed a Brandon Saad rush on the right wing, accepted a back pass, then moved from the circle into the middle and beat Jonathan Quick with a wrister to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 edge.

"It's unbelievable, I looked at him, I think it was about a minute left, I think there was a stoppage of play and I almost started laughing," Toews said of Kane. "It's amazing what he can do in these big games, when our season is on the line and nobody else seems to be able to do it the same way he does it, it's pretty amazing."

Doughty, Dwight King and Alec Martinez scored for the Kings, while Quick stopped only 21 shots in defeat. Doughty has collected seven points (3G, 4A) in the last five games.

The loss didn't deter Doughty from adding confidently: "We've had two chances to close out this series and we're not going to blow the third one."

The Stanley Cup Finals will begin Wednesday night with the Rangers visiting the winner of Sunday's Game 7 for the first two tests of the championship round.

06/01 10:36:09 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
2nd
CHA 27
ORL 26
 
9:30pm Tonight
DUKE
TEMPL
2nd
CHA 27
ORL 26
 
2nd
PHI 27
PHO 26
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
DET
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
MIL
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
BOS
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
BRK
8:00pm Tonight
WAS
CLE
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
SAN
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
LAL
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
NOP
10:30pm Tonight
POR
CHI
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
UTA
1:00pm Today
BUF 0
KSU 0
8:00pm Tonight
RICE
UTEP
9:30pm Tonight
SDST
AFA
9:30pm Tonight
UTST
SJST
Final
COC 50
TEXAM 59
Final
DREX 70
USC 72
Final
GWEBB 72
CLEM 70
Final
MIAMI 79
AKR 51
Final
UCONN 75
DAY 64
Final
NEV 60
SHU 68
Final
LONG 81
UNCG 79
 
Final
ARKPB 46
VALPO 59
 
Final
WVU 70
BC 66
 
Final
TOWS 58
CCST 49
 
Final
YALE 70
ILLCH 58
 
Final
IOWA 63
SYR 66
 
2nd
HAMP 83
ALCOR 69
 
Half
ODU 33
LSU 30
 
1st
KENT 26
BU 16
 
1st
SCAR 28
CHAR 16
 
1st
UVA 21
GWU 24
 
1st
WCU 27
HIWASSEE 19
 
1st
GT 25
MAST 15
 
1st
RIDE 25
LEH 22
 
1st
MSU 32
LOYC 9
 
1st
CMICH 32
MAINE 15
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF 0
MNTST 0
 
1st
BAY 26
PVU 17
 
1st
HOF 17
USB 17
 
1st
OREG 25
TOL 29
 
1st
UGA 34
TROY 18
 
1st
STAN 33
UNLV 10
 
1st
FAIR 12
WOFF 18
 
1st
EMICH 16
YOUNG 11
 
1st
MON 1
COOK 3
 
7:30pm Tonight
FIU
FLMEM
 
1st
KSU 2
SILL 0
 
1st
CAL 3
TEX 5
 
7:35pm Tonight
GMAS
NMU
8:00pm Tonight
ILL
PEAY
8:00pm Tonight
ARK
DELST
 
8:00pm Tonight
MCNST
JCHR
 
8:00pm Tonight
NDST
KNST
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKST
UWMIL
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
MORE
8:00pm Tonight
SDKST
NDAK
8:00pm Tonight
XAV
STEPH
 
8:00pm Tonight
UF
LAMON
8:30pm Tonight
WAKE
IONA
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
FAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
COLST
UGST
9:00pm Tonight
WASU
IDST
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
ILLST
9:00pm Tonight
AUB
LALAF
9:00pm Tonight
LOU
MARS
9:00pm Tonight
ORST
ORU
9:00pm Tonight
CORN
PSU
9:00pm Tonight
SD
SHSU
9:00pm Tonight
UTAH
UCR
9:30pm Tonight
DUKE
TEMPL
10:00pm Tonight
CPSL
DEL
10:00pm Tonight
AMER
PBY
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
WASH
 
10:30pm Tonight
LBSU
KYST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
PITT
1st
CLB 2
BOS 0
 
1st
PIT 2
NYI 3
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF 0
NYR 0
 
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
NJD