The leaders on the playoff-savvy Los Angeles Kings made sure the season would not end.
"It's Game 7 now," Doughty said after a 2-1 win at Staples Center forced one final encounter with the Anaheim Ducks. "I think if we'd been asked, before the playoffs started, about going to a Game 7 against Anaheim in the second round, we would have taken it. Our team is built to play in these kind of games. Our leaders step up to the plate and they show the way. We're looking forward to this game. We're not nervous. We're not overly excited or overanxious. We're just ready to get going.''
Doughty predicted on Tuesday that this would be his team's best game of the series -- and his best game -- and both were delivered Wednesday in Game 6, a bona fide Kings special.
If the Kings boxed up and sold their quintessential playoff games on eBay, they'd read "2-1" on the label.
These are the stingy, low-scoring games the Kings seem to feed off as if it's oxygen for their lungs. It's their raison d'etre.
"I think people that have covered this team the last five or six years, that's probably more of what they're used to," said Brown.
Then they got the all-important first goal, Jake Muzzin making it 1-0 8:16 into the first period. The team scoring first is 6-0 in this series, and that's not by coincidence. Both clubs feed off the energy of the opening goal and, for whatever reason, have more success imposing their game on the other with the early goal.
For the Kings, that means setting up a fortress in front of Quick. More than any other game in this series, the Ducks had difficulty penetrating the slot area to find Grade A shooting lanes and scoring chances.
"They played well defensively tonight, they didn't give up too many odd-man rushes and didn't let us into the house too often," said Ducks star winger Corey Perry, held off the score sheet. "You have to give them credit, they played well.
"It's hard to play from behind against these guys; that's why it's important to come out and get that first goal, get the lead and play with the lead," added Perry. "They're a different team when they play from behind. We have to come out in Game 7 and really start with that push that we need and hopefully carry over that first one."
The Ducks knew they'd get the best from their rivals on this night. The Kings are now 5-0 when facing elimination in these playoffs, they're just awfully hard to finish off.
"We anticipated them being good," said Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano. "They know how to win. They've won before. They just came back from 3-0. We knew they were going to come out hard, we knew they wanted the first goal. I thought both goals were preventable, and it just sucks giving them up, especially the first one. But for the most part, I thought the game was pretty even tonight. I thought it came down that we had some power plays and didn't score on one of them.''