CHICAGO — No matter how this one ends, Joel Quenneville will at least appreciate the show the Blackhawks and Kings have put on in the West final.
A wild series between the two most recent Stanley Cup champs closes with one final act tonight, a seventh game in Chicago to decide who faces the Rangers in the Cup final.
"The quality of the hockey has been fun to watch," Quenneville, the Blackhawks coach, said Saturday. "And it's been fun to be a part of it at the same time."
The Blackhawks won Game 5 at home in double overtime and took Game 6 on Friday in Los Angeles 4-3.
The Kings, who dropped the first three games against San Jose in the opening round then went the distance with the Ducks, hope to become the first team to win three Game 7s on the way to the Cup final.
"We're using all our lifelines so far, and we plan on getting the job done yet again," wing Justin Williams said.
Chicago seeks to rally from a 3-1 deficit for the second straight season. Last year, it capped the comeback by beating Detroit in overtime. Chicago went on to take out the Kings in the conference final before beating Boston for its second Cup in four years.
This time, the Blackhawks looked like they were just about out of it after taking Game 1 then losing three consecutive games. Instead, they jumped back into it with two thrilling victories.
"You can feel it's high-level hockey," Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "They're a machine-like team. They bring the same effort to every single game. We just have to try to match that. I really think this series deserves a Game 7, and I think the crowd deserves it, too. It's going to be a great finish to a great series."
Wild: Coach Mike Yeo signed an extension. Terms weren't disclosed. He has made the playoffs twice in his three seasons. This season, Minnesota reached the second round for just the second time in franchise history.