Kings know all their big wins won't matter if they don't win Stanley Cup

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick makes a save during the second period in Game 7 of the...

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick makes a save during the second period in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final (USA Today)

Robert Tychkowski, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:59 PM ET

LOS ANGELES - Despite becoming the first club in NHL history to win three Game 7s on the road in a playoff year, despite coming back from 0-3 against San Jose, 3-2 against Anaheim and eliminating the defending Stanley Cup champions on their own ice, the L.A. Kings haven’t done anything special yet.

Just ask them.

“If you look back, over the six, seven years this group has been together, we’ve had a lot of things like that we’ve done, that we’ve accomplished,” said goaltender Jonathan Quick.

“It’s a great group to be a part of. I feel very fortunate to be with these guys. But the journey is not done yet. We’ve got a lot of work coming. New York is an awesome team.

“They beat a few great teams to get here, and they’re battle-tested as well, so we’ve got a lot to get ready for.’’

Lose to the Rangers in the Stanley Cup final and everything they’ve accomplished so far will have been rendered meaningless.

“We can talk about the three Game 7s all we want,” said Kings captain Dustin Brown. “But it’s a moot point if we aren’t prepared to go the distance.”

Going the distance means going through a team with the best goaltender in the playoffs, one that’s been waiting and resting since Thursday. The Kings, after making their sixth four-hour flight between Los Angeles and Chicago since the series began, get one day off before beginning the final leg of the journey on Wednesday.

So while their first three rounds have been truly remarkable, a credit to the skill and determination of their program, there’s no time for the Western Conference champions to look back at what they’ve done, only ahead at what’s left to do.

“It seems like we’re doing those kinds of things,” Jarret Stoll said of the road so far. “Yeah, it’s special. It’s a good accomplishment. But it’s only three rounds. We all understand that.

“Four more wins to go. It’s the hardest hill to climb ahead of us. We’re going to push and pull our way up there.”

“This is three-quarters of the way,” added Game 7 specialist Justin Williams. “This isn’t the whole way. We have a big, big challenge ahead of us.

“We’re proud of the way we’ve performed so far but won’t be satisfied. I’ll certainly have a lump in my throat if we don’t follow through with our ultimate goal.”

The biggest challenge right out of the gate will be coming down from the incredible series against Chicago and then getting right back up, trying to manufacture that same emotion against the Rangers - on legs that have played 21 games (seven of them facing elimination), so far.

“We just have to reset again,” said head coach Darryl Sutter. “We do it so well. We did it during the regular season. We did it before the Olympics. We did it after the Olympics. We did it before the playoffs started. We did it after Game 7 of the first round. We just have to do it again. Certainly it’s a challenge when you play a fresh team.”

The first three rounds weren’t easy, so there’s no reason to believe the Rangers, who can taste that championship as much as L.A. can, will back down without a serious fight.

“Great goaltending, great defence, great forwards, great special teams,” said Sutter, listing off the things that worry him about New York. “We’re up against it again.”

If the first three rounds are any indication, that’s just the way they like it.

“I’m pretty excited,” said Tyler Toffoli. “It’s my first chance to win a Stanley Cup, play in the Stanley Cup Finals. The guys in the room are excited. We just want to get it going.”

WILLIAMS LEGEND GROWS

The L.A. Kings hope they won’t have to rely on Justin Williams’ uncanny Game 7 abilities any more in these playoffs, but it’s nice to know he’s there.

If they can’t wrap up the New York Rangers in six or less in the Stanley Cup final, they’re glad they have someone on their side with seven goals, seven assists and a 7-0 record in seven career Game 7s.

“The legend continues,” said teammate Jarret Stoll, who is equal parts thankful and impressed that Williams posted a goal and an assist in Sunday’s win over Chicago to become the NHL’s all-time leading Game 7 scorer.

“He’s just a special player. He rises to the occasion every big game, every game.

“He’s a leader in every aspect of the game, in the dressing room. The way he conducts himself. You guys see it every day. I can’t say enough about the kid.”

The numbers do most of the talking when it comes to Williams and Game 7s, but he’s said many times that the only stat that matters is the 7-0.

“It really wouldn’t have meant anything if we didn’t come out with a victory,” said Williams. “The story is how we were able to come back and how resilient we were, how awesome the series was to play in and be a part of. It was just fitting that it ended in Game 7 in overtime.”


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