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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Sikandar: For the youngsters of Kings, Game 7 awaits

LOS ANGELES – In the game, at almost every level, there is a saying that whatever level of experience a player has at the beginning of the season, he will be bigger, wiser and able to handle situations by the end.

There is an exception. It’s season after season, and in hockey, it’s not something you can simulate or explain.

The youngsters who will be the future of Kings are earning well this season. Some have been here all season, while others have been called along the way. They’ve learned, they’ve grown and they’ve developed resilience, as demonstrated on Thursday night when they bounced back from a two-goal deficit and briefly kept the Edmonton Oilers on their heels.

But they could not finish. So on Saturday night in Edmonton they will play 7 games after a 4-2 home loss on Thursday night. It will probably be an experience unlike what they have, be it juniors or college or AHL. Win or go home, on the road, and when they’re playing with home money and they’ve been a good road team all season, it’s different.

Kings coach Todd McClellan said Thursday night, “I think there is logic to the idea of ​​developing over the course of a season”. “But there is also experience under pressure that some of them haven’t experienced.”

The Kings’ Stanley Cup winners include Ange Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Jonathan Quick and the injured Drew Doughty, and veterans playing in the likes of other teams such as Philippe Danault, Alex Adler and Olli Mata can only say this. Something like this, you have to live it to truly understand it.

Think about it, Game 6 with a chance to eliminate someone is an experience that can’t be replicated. The Kings faced off last night, and when Conor McDavid closed out a roaring home crowd in the evening with a wraparound goal in 1 minute and 40 seconds… well, you live and learn.

“I think maybe we (minds) had the thought of ending the series and we started a little bit tentatively,” Kopitar said. “Credit to them; Obviously he had a good start. … I mean, the old people haven’t been in a few years, and we have some people who haven’t experienced it at all. So it’s natural.

“But if you told us that we had to win a game to move forward, we would definitely take advantage of this opportunity. So it’s not all that bad. We’re going to fly there (Friday) and get ready for Game 7.”

It’s all a matter of perspective, I guess. Not many people outside the Kings headquarters in El Segundo expected the group to be in this position when the season began. Certainly, some outside LA expected the group — especially those without Doughty and injured Victor Arvidsson — still hanging on for the seventh game against the star-filled Oilers, and that doesn’t matter. Not that the regular season difference between the teams was five points in the standings in more than 82 games.

What was it that always opinionated TBS Studios analyst Paul Bissonnet had to say about Kings in the series earlier? “I couldn’t name five players on LA’s current roster,” he reportedly said. “No chance in hell McDavid and Draisaitl get bounced by the AHL team.”

Given that Biss played parts of seven seasons in the AHL, and the last three of them were with Kings colleagues in Manchester and Ontario, I think he has a frame of reference.

Who knows what could happen on Saturday night? The Kings were better on the road than at home during the regular season (23-11-7 to 21-16-4) and won two of the last three games in Edmonton in this series. This alone suggests resilience and mental fortitude, and would also be a sign to bounce back to win Games 4 and 5 after being blown away by the Oilers in Games 2 and 3. (Blown, of course, being conservative descriptions of the 6-0 and 8-2 losses.)

But pretending to play Game 7 at the backyard rink as a kid, or shooting pucks or tennis balls at the net in front of the garage. Like we’ve said, it’s something else to live with with all its attendant pressure.

“The big four who are here, and some who have played a lot of playoff games, get moments,” McClellan said. “If you will, from night to night, they get mood swings. Young players, sometimes they adapt to it really quickly. Sometimes it’s overwhelming for them. But they have to experience it. It’s a different monster.”

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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