By Allan Muir
Say this much about the Los Angeles Kings: They went out fighting.
They scrapped their way back from what had to be a spirit-crushing 2-0 deficit n the first minutes of Game 5. They battled for the equalizer after Patrick Kane scored what looked to be the clincher with just over three minutes remaining in the third. And then they traded punches with the Blackhawks for more than 30 minutes of extra time before Kane drove home the dagger on a gloriously executed two-on-one with Jonathan Toews.
They fell short of repeating as Stanley Cup champs, but this was a gutsy performance from a team that ends the season knowing it had completely emptied the tank.
“It’s not easy to repeat, but we came in, we gave ourselves a good chance,” said defenseman Rob Scuderi. “We were stopped here in the Western Conference Finals, but overall I’m pretty proud of the team, especially considering tonight in that early 2-0 hole. It looked like we folded up shop and called it a season to a better team on home ice, but we battled back. We stayed with it, and at least we gave ourselves a chance.”
The loss ended a streak of six consecutive playoff series victories for the Kings, adding up to 25 postseason wins over the past two years. No one should hang their heads after that. But questions about what went wrong — and what to do about it — are inevitable.