Hawks chip away at Kings' mythology

"I think a lot of guys, maybe, are making sure they don't make mistakes with the puck and getting rid of the puck in certain areas, but he's as calm as ever with it, even if it's late in the period and the ice is a little rough. He just keeps that puck flat and has his head up.

"He makes some amazing plays. So for him to come up with those two plays, on the tying goal and the winning goal, not much you can say. It's pretty amazing."

Keith insisted that the Hawks are no longer surprised by what the team's top players like Kane and Toews produce on a nightly basis at the most critical times.

"Us players in here, we get the privilege of playing with a guy like that (Kane) every day and seeing the things he can do," Keith said. "Not everybody's going to dominate a game every single game, there's a lot of hockey, a lot of good teams and a lot of good players. But you know that when it comes down to crunch time, him and Johnny, I don't really know if there's two other guys I'd want to have on my team.

"We're excited. Nothing's done yet. We understand that. We've given ourselves the opportunity to play in that Game 7, to have a chance to move on, and I think that's what we're excited about."

To be sure, the Kings will have to find a way to contain Kane and his linemates Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw, who each had assists in Game 6, but it wasn't just Kane's play that should have the Kings worried.

This was a particularly sloppy contest and, while neither team was sharp for the first half of the game, the Kings were decidedly un-King-like defensively for long stretches of a game in which they managed just three shots in the third period.

There were botched breakouts and ill-planned passes.

At one point in the second period after the Blackhawks had taken a 2-1 lead, the Kings allowed a rare 2-on-0 during a bad line change. Only an extraordinary blocker save on Patrick Sharp and a convenient crossbar allowed the Kings to escape that brain cramp unscathed.

Moments later they allowed a 3-on-2.

"I'm a broken record. We've got to be sharper in our own end and we can't have those breakdowns and allow them those opportunities because they're a good hockey club and they're going to capitalize on them," Martinez said.

One of the themes of this playoff season and indeed earlier in this series was the notion that the Kings were experienced enough, patient enough to wait until an opponent revealed a crack in the veneer and then the Kings would exploit it until the opponent was finished.

Yet instead of taking the final step to put away the Chicago Blackhawks, the Kings are the ones who's flaws are being taken advantage of.

"Hey, it's been a great series," Los Angeles head coach Darryl Sutter said. "Now it comes down to one game. That's what it's been."

What did Sutter tell his players after the game?

"Fly at 11," the coach said.

Sounds about right.

Sure, this is the Kings' third straight Game 7. And there is something to be said for the experience of winning both those games in San Jose and Anaheim respectively.

"It's a testament to the character and the group that we have on the team, but for whatever reason we've had success," Martinez explained.

"But that won't mean much if we don't win the next game. So we've just got to go in there and play a simple, hard, tough road hockey game."

And there's the rub.

Win Game 7 and the myth will continue to be reality for the Kings. Play like they did the past two games and the reality will be a lot more humbling.

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