LOS ANGELES — After conquering almost every conceivable obstacle in the Stanley Cup playoffs over the last few years, the pressure of an elimination game doesn’t bother the Los Angeles Kings.
With goals from two unlikely sources and a vintage game from their star goalie, the Kings methodically made sure the first postseason Freeway Faceoff will go the limit.
Trevor Lewis scored his fourth goal of the postseason, Jonathan Quick made 21 saves, and the Kings forced a seventh game with a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 on Wednesday night.
Jake Muzzin scored an early goal for the Kings, who ended their three-game skid with another sturdy defensive effort at home. Los Angeles improved to 6-1 in postseason elimination games over the last two seasons while beating Ducks goalie John Gibson for the first time in his six-game NHL career.
The Kings clearly have a hunger for high stakes. The top-seeded Ducks will find out how they taste in Game 7 on Friday night.
“Our team is built to play in these kinds of games,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “Our leaders show the way, and everyone follows. We look forward to playing in these games. We’re not nervous.”
The Kings again proved their postseason credentials are unassailable after winning a Stanley Cup title in 2012 and returning to the conference finals last year. Responding to Anaheim’s three straight wins with calm, intelligent defense, Los Angeles forced its second seven-game series of this postseason after rallying from an 0-3 deficit in the first round to stun San Jose.
Los Angeles largely controlled Game 6, shutting down the Ducks’ power play and their top scorers. The Kings killed two penalties in the third period and survived the frantic final seconds with barely a hiccup.
“It’s a result (of the fact that) this group has been through a lot of things, being in these very uncomfortable situations,” Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown said. “When you have that trust and experience with each other, it puts it in perspective. We’ve been through a lot worse.”
Kyle Palmieri scored and Gibson stopped 21 shots for the Ducks, who could have clinched their first trip to the Western Conference finals since 2007.
The Southern California rivals’ scintillating first postseason meeting is the NHL’s only second-round series still going. The winner of Game 7 at Honda Center faces the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, who will have four days before the conference finals open Sunday in Anaheim or Chicago.