The London Knights aren't wasting any time busting out the heavy artillery against the Owen Sound Attack.
The Knights plan to stack their top line with a trio that combined for 394 points this season -- OHL scoring champion Pat Kane, Sam Gagner and Sergei Kostitsyn -- and let the Attack try to figure out how to stop three of the top five scorers in the OHL from producing some magical moments when the OHL Western Conference quarter-final starts tonight at the John Labatt Centre.
"Sam and I have played together all season and Sergei came on in the second half and he's been playing some unreal hockey lately," Kane said. "We have great chemistry between the three of us. I think it does help (make the power play become more effective) that we're out there together every shift and I do think it also helps us with fatigue."
London has used the Kane-Gagner-Kostitsyn line during the regular season stretch run but there is a concern the team is putting all its offensive eggs in one basket. The Knights expect Owen Sound to try to match a checking line led by pesky forward Marcus Carroll against their top unit.
"That's what Owen Sound did last time we played them but we don't really care what the other team is doing," said Kane. "We're just going to play our game. This is crunch time and the Erie games are no more. We know it's going to be tough. You always want to prove that you're a playoff performer because that's how you get far in hockey."
Though Dave Gagner will run the London bench while Dale Hunter serves the final three games of a five-game suspension, the Knights have always reserved the right to quickly shake up their lines if something isn't working.
"We're used to different combinations," Kane said. "At this time, we're just going to do what gives us the best chance of winning."
Though Kane knows the Knights boast the best road record in OHL history at 29-5, his team earned home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs and needs to capitalize on it. He's looking forward to his postseason debut in front of a packed JLC.
"I thought it was loud before so it'll be something to see how loud it gets now," Kane said. "I've heard it's something with everyone wearing green."
It won't be easy to score at the same rate at which Kane produced 62 goals and 145 points this season, but the Knights just need the 18-year-old to outscore Owen Sound kingpin Bobby Ryan.
Ryan had six goals and 15 points in six games against London while Kostitsyn's five goals and 17 points led London in its half-dozen meetings with the Attack.