LOS ANGELES - It’s a long, hard road from the end of Game 82 to the Stanley Cup final — uphill and treacherous the whole way.
At times along the journey, when the lungs are burning and the legs are screaming louder than the fans, when the injury nobody knows about goes from dull ache to searing knife blade, the only thing that keeps a player going is the fear that all of this might end.
So, with the Los Angeles Kings already 20 games deep in the playoffs (two seven-gamers against powerhouses Anaheim and San Jose, followed by a Western Conference final that had them playing six games and making four trips between California and Chicago in 14 days), there’s no point in even asking if they’re a little tired.
“Your heart doesn’t get tired,” said Kings defenceman Drew Doughty, who played 39:04 in the Game 5 double-overtime thriller. “Adrenaline kicks in. That’s what we feed off of, the energy from that. The will to win.”