Kings' season cut short following 'deflating' loss to Hawks

Kings' season cut short following 'deflating' loss to Hawks
June 9, 2013, 1:15 am
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Nina Falcone

Hawks-Kings Game 5

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With only 9.4 seconds left in regulation, the Kings got what they needed. At least, it was what they thought they needed to keep their season alive.

After facing an early two-goal deficit in a win-or-go-home Game 5 matchup against the Blackhawks, the Kings found a way to send the game into overtime after Mike Richards found the back of the net with just seconds remaining on the clock. But despite the late heroics, the defending Stanley Cup champions couldn't get the job done.

"It's not ideal being down 2-0, but at the same time you have 50 minutes to catch up," Kings defenseman Matt Greene said following his team's 4-3 loss in double overtime. "That was the main point right there, just stop the bleeding and keep going. Our guys did a good job of that, sticking with it, battling back and forcing overtime.

"We're disappointed right now. We wanted different results obviously. You lose a series in five games, obviously [the Blackhawks are] doing something a little better over there."

Coach Darryl Sutter, perhaps, summed it up the most colorfully:

"There's not much you can do, but giving up bad goals puts your head between your legs and it gets your ass kicked."

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After cruising through the 2012 postseason, the Kings faced a much bumpier road in 2013. Prior to their elimination, the injury-riddled team won just one game on the road  -- against the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference quarterfinals.

After dropping the first two games of the Western Conference Final, the Kings had their chance to redeem themselves at home. But they couldn't fend off the league's top-ranked team in Game 4 and came back to Chicago down three games to one. And as they had shown previously this postseason, a road win just wasn't in the cards for them.

"[The Blackhawks] obviously took care of their home ice. It's very deflating," Richards said. "Sometimes you have to lose again to remember how hard it was to win. You keep this bad feeling until you have another go at it."

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Richards was one of a number of Kings players that faced injuries throughout the playoffs after showing concussion-like symptoms following a hit from Dave Bolland in Game 1 of the series. But despite their hardships, he and his teammates were frustrated with their overall product.

"Nothing came easy for us to play to this point," forward Jarret Stoll said. "Guys were banged up, guys were playing their hearts out. It just wasn't enough. We wanted to play until the end of June. That was our goal, that was our mindset. We just didn't have it against these guys."

The Kings found plenty to be upset and frustrated about, but despite all the emotion, they still showed a lot of respect for the Blackhawks and the performance they've had since the start of the shortened 2013 campaign began.

"They're a great team, we wish them all the best. They have a lot of great players and they play their system well and they have great coaching," Stoll said. "They're the best team in the league and they showed that."