"We knew what kind of team they were," Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said. "We knew things weren't going to be easy, and they weren't going to be quick."
After five straight wins in elimination games this spring, the Kings won't surrender their postseason supremacy. The Ducks will have to take it at Honda Center in a fitting finale to the Freeway Faceoff.
"When you have our trust and experience with each other, it puts games like this in perspective," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "We've been through a lot worse. We know what has to be done."
The Kings have pushed another playoff opponent to the limit, and the Ducks have one last chance to push back. After a series filled with tight games, dramatic momentum swings and improbable heroes, Los Angeles and Anaheim will finish their first postseason series with one game to earn a trip to the Western Conference finals against Chicago.
"You say you want to approach this like any other game, but no one believes that," Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. "This is an exciting time. These are situations that you grow up wanting to be involved in."
The top-seeded Ducks have more at stake than extending beloved forward Teemu Selanne's career. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau's team had the best regular season in franchise history, but will have little to show for it without one more win over the Kings, who have developed a preternatural poise in tough situations. Los Angeles improved to 6-1 in elimination games over the last two years with its 2-1 win in Game 6 on Wednesday.
"We just have the mentality that nothing is going to stop us," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said.
"We're just a close-knit team that wants nothing more than to be another Stanley Cup champion."
The Kings already won a Game 7 in this postseason, making a merciless rally from three games down to stun San Jose in the first round. Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter cast his team as the underdog throughout this series, but ramped up the rhetoric immediately after Game 6.
"I think the two rivals, especially the one team that had 116 points, probably would prefer not to play a Game 7," Sutter said. "But (Los Angeles) was prepared to play a Game 7 because we knew that they're a tough team to beat, and if we could get to seven, that meant that we'd done good things."
• Los Angeles at Anaheim, 7 p.m., NBCSN
Series tied 3-3
Eastern Conference finals
• N.Y. Rangers at Montreal, 11 a.m., Ch. 5
Series tied 0-0