Game 6 marked the first time in seven games Carter did not record at least a point. He still leads all players in the conference finals with 10 points, but he and his youthful linemates Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson have gone from being game-changers, as they were when the Kings won three straight in the middle of the series, to something less than that. Whether it's the Blackhawks' defensive adjustments or simply the ebb and flow of the series, the Kings are going to need the old version of the Carter-Toffoli-Pearson unit if they're going to win their third straight Game 7 on the road this spring. Toffoli and Pearson have been terrific this spring and, in particular, in this series where they have combined for five goals and six assists. But they have been less noticeable in Games 5 and 6, and you wonder if there are some young player nerves at play here. If so, they'd better put them away Sunday.
Justin Williams, Los Angeles Kings
It's not like Mr. Game 7 sits around waiting for deciding games to show up. With an assist on the Kings' first goal in Game 6, Williams now has 16 points in his last 17 postseason games and five points in his last five games against the Blackhawks. But if there is one single Kings player who has a knack for finding the way in a Game 7, it would be Williams, who has collected an astounding 12 points (six goals, six assists) in six Game 7s in his career. He has never lost a deciding game, going 6-0. And if you throw in Marian Gaborik and Mike Richards, the three Kings forwards are a combined 18-0 in Game 7s. Already this spring Williams has added an assist in Game 7 against San Jose and then was a key factor in the Kings' blowout win over Anaheim in Game 7 with a goal and an assist. No reason to suggest Sunday will be any different.
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
It's been a weird playoff year for the former playoff MVP. He was out of sorts, as were all of the Kings, in falling behind San Jose 3-0, but he has been very good since. But in the past two games, Quick's allowed nine goals and, while he's made some spectacular stops like breaking up a 2-on-0 in Game 6, somehow denying Sharp with a great arm save, there have been moments when Quick has looked unsettled. Still, if there's a better money goaltender over the past three playoff years, we don't know who it would be. And the Kings are going to need Quick to be better than he has the past two games.
Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
Crawford has been the yo-yo man in this series, his play running the gamut from exemplary to ordinary to, well, subordinary. But for the second straight game, Crawford delivered tough saves when his team absolutely needed him. He admitted he didn't like the Kings' third goal by Alec Martinez, which beat him 5-hole from the slot, but there's a little of the Grant Fuhr going on with Crawford in the last couple of games. He's not pitching shutouts, but the Blackhawks are a talented enough team -- a la the Edmonton Oilers -- that they don't necessarily need that. What they do need is timely saves, and in two straight elimination games, Crawford has provided that. He did the same thing a year ago against Boston when the Blackhawks had to scramble after falling behind 2-1 in the series.
Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks