Every night during the playoffs, we will wrap up all the exciting action and tell you what you need to know about the 2013-14 Stanley Cup playoffs. Welcome to What You Need To Know.
Kings win 6-2 | LAK wins series 4-3
Anaheim Ducks: With everything to play for against an experienced, battle-hardened team, the Ducks crumbled. Getting outshot 16-6 in the first period and giving up three goals is as dreadful a start as you could have expected. The Ducks were down four goals by the time they woke up and even gave up a fifth while surging in the second period. The hole was far too big to get out of. Rookie goalie John Gibson was not at his best to start, getting pulled after giving up the fourth goal early in the second period, but the entire Ducks team was in a trance it seemed. You can give them credit for not giving up on the game despite the ugly scoreline, but it was too little, too late. There's talent on this roster, but the offseason will feel a lot longer after such a disastrous collapse.
Los Angeles Kings: The Ducks may have been poor, but credit where it is due, the Kings absolutely overwhelmed their opponents. This was a team that looked every bit as battle tested as a team that has played in six elimination games in one postseason should look. From Drew Doughty to Anze Kopitar to Jonathan Quick (and Game 7 superhero Justin Williams), this team was locked in. Scoring the first five goals in the game, the Kings seemed to finish their best chances. This team is as resilient as any in recent playoff history and with a 6-0 record in elimination games this postseason, they can head into their third consecutive Western Conference Final, they can have some confidence.
Play of the Game: The goal Jeff Carter scored four minutes after Justin Williams gave the Kings a 1-0 lead really seemed to suck the life out of Anaheim. First of all, it was a tremendous effort for Carter to use his speed to get to the puck, then had to shake off a hold from Hampus Lindholm, which would have drawn a penalty. Carter then made a nice quick move on Gibson to score on the backhand. It was an important goal because of how it transformed the rest of the period, but it was also a really pretty play by Carter to notch his fourth goal of the playoffs.
Player of the Game: There are several terrific candidates for this slot, but Drew Doughty was one of the biggest difference-makers in this game. The Kings' top defenseman is such an integral part of the club's dominance in possession with his ability to defend and get the puck up ice so quickly. He played a game-high 28:01, and keep in mind this was in what amounted to a blowout. Doughty, who had one assist in Game 7, may not have the points to be considered a Conn Smythe favorite, but he belongs in the discussion. So much of what the Kings are able to do runs through Doughty.
Turning Point: The Kings stepped on the ice. From start to finish, they were better by a wide margin. Three goals in the first period starting with Justin Williams' power-play goal after a bad holding penalty by Ben Lovejoy just prior. The Ducks were on their heels pretty much the remainder of the period and even heading into the second. Corey Perry was thwarted on a penalty shot in the first and that may as well have nailed the coffin shut. They were toast before they ever settled into the game.
GIF of the Game: It was this kind of night for the Ducks. Late in the game, Nick Bonino got his stick caught in his own team's net, jabbed himself in the groin and pole-vaulted right over it. That could have been dangerous, but luckily Bonino appeared OK. It's an unfortunate visual of a very tough game for Anaheim. GIF via @myregularface:
And for the heck of it, here is a bonus still. Bruce Boudreau's done the face-palm a lot in the postseason, having never advanced past the second round. This collapse may have been too much for the Ducks' head coach to bear.
How ya doin' there Brucey? pic.twitter.com/ApViS2OA8L— Bonk's Mullet (@BonksMullet) May 17, 2014