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Ducks, LA Kings expect dramatic finish in Game 7 of second round

ANAHEIM, California -- For the past few years, the Anaheim Ducks have watched enviously while the Los Angeles Kings evolved into phenomenal playoff performers and Stanley Cup champions.

The Ducks want that reputation as much as they want the Cup.

In Game 7 of their second-round series Friday night, they're on the perfect stage to supplant their rivals and to demonstrate they're a title contender, not just a regular-season power.

“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.

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