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posted: 5/18/2014 8:00 AM

Breaking down the Kings-Blackhawks series

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  • Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick blocks a shot from Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry with the help of Jake Muzzin during the second period in Game 7 of an NHL hockey second-round Stanley Cup playoff series in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, May 16, 2014.

      Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick blocks a shot from Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry with the help of Jake Muzzin during the second period in Game 7 of an NHL hockey second-round Stanley Cup playoff series in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, May 16, 2014.

  • Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, right, blocks a shot by Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry during the second period in Game 7 of an NHL hockey second-round Stanley Cup playoff series in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, May 16, 2014.

      Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, right, blocks a shot by Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry during the second period in Game 7 of an NHL hockey second-round Stanley Cup playoff series in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, May 16, 2014.

 
Daily Herald Report

Q. Los Angeles was a low-scoring team during the regular season, but the Kings have averaged 3 goals per game in the playoffs. How have they been able to do that?

A. They've got better scoring than a lot of people think they do. The brand of hockey that they are suited for in the postseason is how they are being successful in scoring goals. They drive hard to the net and they've added Marian Gaborik. ... He's a heck of a hockey player and he's found a nice role with the L.A. Kings. It has really suited him well to play with Anze Kopitar.

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Q. Winning two Game 7 contests is impressive and should give the Kings a lot of confidence coming into the Western Conference finals. Is scoring first a must for the Blackhawks?

A. I think so. If you look at the stats in the playoffs, the team scoring first has a higher percentage of winning the game. Each game is a different animal, though. There's a lot to scoring first, and the Hawks would like to get off to a good start and the Kings would like to score first to quiet the crowd.

Q. Jonathan Quick allowed the fewest goals in the regular season, and he's considered one of the best goalies in the NHL. Is Corey Crawford in the same company now?

A. I think so. If you look at last year, it was the same matchup and Corey Crawford came out on top and won the Stanley Cup. Jonathan Quick has won the Stanley Cup, too. You don't get to this level without having great goaltending. If you look at the Eastern Conference with Carey Price (Montreal) and Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, and Crawford certainly deserves to be in the same breath as those guys. It's kind of a surprise that people point to Crawford as a weakness for this team when all he's ever done is exactly what's been asked of him. He's won some big games, big series and has a Stanley Cup in his resume.

Q. How good is the Kings' defense in front of Quick, and what do you expect from the Hawks on offense?

A. If you look at the Minnesota Wild, they played a stifling defense too, and the New York Rangers have that type of defense. You don't get to this point without being a good all-around team. L.A. is one of those teams that really buys into what they need to do at their end of the ice. They block a lot of shots, they take away time and space, they take away shooting lanes, and they are hard to play against.

It's a matter of will. You have to battle through to get to the net to create those second and third opportunities. The key to both of these teams in the offensive zone is getting traffic in front of the goalies.

Q. If the play of special teams is critical, which club is better and why?

A. You can't look at the overall stats. Montreal lost its first game (against New York on Saturday) yet they still have the best power play in the NHL.

I don't know if there is a favorable matchup right now with these two clubs. Ask me after four games and we might know. Right now it doesn't matter who's hot and who's cold. Each series has its own life. Both of these teams have been able to find ways to win.

• Troy Murray is in his 14th year as a member of the Blackhawks broadcast team and his ninth year as the color analyst for the team's radio broadcasts. The Selke Award winner was a five-time 20-goal scorer and a veteran of 15 years in the NHL, playing in 915 career games.

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