Consistent Chicago in rematch with 'comeback Kings'

Sat May 17, 2014 3:06pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - For the second year in a row, the Chicago Blackhawks will take on the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference finals, a matchup pitting one of the NHL's most consistent teams against the 'Kings of the Comeback'.

The Blackhawks have hoisted the Stanley Cup twice in the last four years (2010, 2013) and are bidding to become the league's first back-to-back champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.

Well rested since they eliminated the Minnesota Wild in six games to reach the conference finals, fifth-seeded Chicago will look to make a winning start on home ice when they host the Kings on Sunday for the opener in the best-of-seven series.

Los Angeles, in contrast, will still be feeling a little bruised and battered after ousting the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in a tense series between cross-town rivals that ended only on Friday night.

The Kings became the first NHL team to win consecutive series in a single postseason after twice losing three straight games, and will be eager to atone for their 4-1 series loss to the Blackhawks in last year's Western Conference final.

"Getting back there (to the conference final) is one thing," said Kings captain Dustin Brown. "There are some things that we didn't do last year that we want to do this year.

"Obviously, the team that we're going up against got the job done last year so we've got to reload now."

Two years ago, the Kings delivered a stunning Cinderella story as they beat the West's top three seeds in the playoffs en route to becoming the first eighth seed to win a Stanley Cup.   Continued...

Apr 30, 2014; San Jose, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23) scores an empty net goal against the San Jose Sharks during the third period in game seven of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports