SoCal fans getting treated to Game 7

It's been a contrast of personalities between the two coaches in this series. The Orange County Register fabulously labeled it "Gabby versus Crabby" before the series.

Given that Gabby is Boudreau's longtime moniker, you know where that leaves the stern-looking Sutter in that headline.

The Kings coach isn't a big fan of media conferences. But when the cameras are off and it's just a few of us talking hockey, Sutter can open up; he's got a wealth of hockey knowledge and is incredibly interesting to listen to as he dissects the game.

He's also confident. He knows his Kings team. He's won a lot of big playoff games with this squad, dating back to their 2012 triumph, more recently underlining their zest for drama by going 5-0 this spring in elimination games.

"I don't it know if it changed after you won the Cup," Sutter said Thursday. "I think you get to know them through the playoffs. You get to know guys who thrive in situations or want the challenge. It's a tough hill to climb. Every game becomes tougher as the playoffs go along. That's what happens. It sorts out your leadership group. It sorts out where your young players are at. We continue to do that.

"[That is what is] out of place a bit. We put [out] a lot of young guys. Everyone says, 'Well, you won the Cup three years ago,' We did, but you're putting a lot of young guys in or playing them differently, where you see if they can handle it or can't handle it. That's where you see ups and downs in their game."

The Kings seemingly have lived for this over the past three years, playing Friday night what will be their 52nd playoff game during that span.

"It's confidence," veteran Kings center Mike Richards said Thursday. "When you've done special things together, you have the confidence, no matter what happens, to do that again. That's a big thing in the playoffs. When you're down in a game, down in the series, you've been through comebacks and good things with the guy beside you. It's a good thing to lean on. It's a nice feeling to have, that you have the confidence to do whatever is needed to win."

The Kings have the kind of playoff knowledge so many teams would die for.

And yet, Sutter on Wednesday night tried to paint his Kings as underdogs ahead of Game 7, because the Ducks were 16 points ahead in the standings this season.

Um, pretty much nobody is buying that.

"You can ask anybody who they think the underdog is, and the underdog is us," Boudreau countered Thursday. "They've already went through five Game 7s in the playoffs already [in five elimination games]. They've been there. They've won the Stanley Cup. I thought it was pretty funny when Darryl said that, and he actually said it with a straight face. I don't know who he's trying to buffalo, but it sure isn't us."

Ah, the mind games.

"I'd say the pressure is on them," veteran Kings center Jarret Stoll said Thursday. "A lot of pressure is on their goaltender. A lot of pressure is on their entire team to win on home ice."

If the Ducks were feeling pressure, they weren't showing it Thursday. Getzlaf peered into a Ben Lovejoy media scrum at one point, pretending to blend in with the media.

This is a Ducks team that has grown a lot in 12 months since that Game 7 loss to Detroit. That doesn't mean they'll win Friday, but it means they won't have as much regret as they did a year ago when the Ducks felt they didn't leave it all on the ice.

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