Kings-Blackhawks Game 5 Preview: Never Say Die

This is what an elimination game feels like - remember?

Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks (United Center)

Time: 5.00 PM

TV: RDS, CBC, NBC Sports Network

Enemy reading: Second City Hockey

Series coverage: Notes & Information | Preview | Game 1 coverage | Game 2 coverage | Game 3 coverage | Game 4 recap
Blackhawks (projected) lineup:




Injured: n/a; Scratched: Carcillo, Mayers, Smith, Brookbank, Stanton

Kings (projected) lineup:




Injured: Mitchell, Richards???; Scratched: Fraser???, Martinez, Ellerby, Nolan, the Manchester Monarchs

Game notes:

  • Mike Richards is "50/50" to play tonight. I'm concerned that he may be having an elimination-game-inspired recovery, but I am not a doctor and I cannot speak for him or the Kings, so I guess I'll just leave it at that.
    With the season on the line, it looks like Darryl Sutter is reverting to the forward lines he knows best. I tend to think that drastic line changes in the playoffs are the last resort of a coach who's run out of ideas, but in this case, I'm really not sure what else he can do./

The end of Duncan Keith's suspension means that the Blackhawks will once again line up the way they did in Games 1-3. I missed watching periods 1 & 2 of Game 4 because of a work event, so obviously my perspective is a bit skewed, but I didn't feel as if the Kings did nearly enough to take advantage of his absence.
I've been struggling to write this preview for about the last hour, and this is all I've got. It's hard at time like these (so I'm learning) because there really isn't much that's useful to say. We all know what's led up to this game, and what's at stake. It's been over two years since the Kings last faced an elimination game, and although there have been plenty of nerves since then, these jitters feel different - they always do.
It doesn't seem quite fair that the season should end like this, after everything that's been endured (a slew of injuries and an up-and-down regular season, followed by hard-fought battles against two of the best teams in the League), but it never really feels fair, and there's no denying that the Blackhawks are an excellent team. There would be no shame in losing tonight.
Still, I believe that this team has what it takes to win. Prediction: Kings win - Kings in seven.