one day to spare in the regular season. "I think everybody was kind of watching," catcher David Ross said.

in BullyGeister 07.01.2019 13:38
von jj009 | 3.402 Beiträge

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings have been in all types of jams during the past two postseasons. Just a few weeks ago, they even escaped the same 0-2 deficit theyre now facing in the Western Conference finals. "Weve been here, what, three weeks ago?" forward Justin Williams asked, referring to the Kings great escape in the first round against St. Louis. "Obviously its not do-or-die (in Game 3), but it is." Yet the defending Stanley Cup champions arent sure theyve tangled with an opponent that could match the depth and versatility of the Chicago Blackhawks, who might even be the team to end Los Angeles 2 1/2 months of perfection at home. After back-to-back losses in Chicago, the Kings are hoping they can stay perfect at Staples Center in a crucial Game 3 on Tuesday night. The Kings have won 14 straight at home since March, and theyve won seven straight home playoff games dating to last seasons Stanley Cup clincher. The Kings have no idea why theyve been unbeatable at Staples Center, but they realize their repeat hopes depend on it. "Home ice is something weve been able to rely on, and have in our back pocket," Williams said Monday after the Kings team meeting at their training complex. "Im (also) not sure why we went 10-1 on the road last year (in the playoffs). Certainly our confidence is high for us coming back home. Theres been a lot of success there. Weve won every which way there, and its going to have to continue." Even two solid efforts in Chicago by coach Darryl Sutters estimation werent enough to turn back the Presidents Trophy winners, who have won five straight post-season games after falling into a 1-3 hole against Detroit in the second round. The Blackhawks won both games of the conference finals in persuasive fashion, overcoming the Kings greatest strengths along the way. Chicago even chased Jonathan Quick out of Game 2 by scoring four goals against the Conn Smythe Trophy-winning goalie -- something nobody had done in 34 straight playoff games over the past three years. Sutter acknowledged he pulled Quick partly to give him a brief rest for the remaining playoff grind. The Blackhawks were reminded of the tenuous nature of any playoff lead in the second round, so they werent brimming with overconfidence when they arrived on the West Coast. "You look back at the St. Louis series, (and) they were up 2-0 coming to L.A.," Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook said Monday. "Weve got to continue to focus on the game (Tuesday) night. Theyre a great team, L.A. Quick is a great goaltender. We understand hes going to come back with a better game than he did last night. We have to continue to get pucks to him and make it tough on him." The Kings have lost at home in regulation just four times in this entire lockout-shortened season, but the Blackhawks were responsible for arguably the biggest defeat of them all. Chicago ruined the Kings Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony in the season opener in January, and the Blackhawks 5-2 victory catapulted them to the start that led them to the NHLs best regular-season record. "Its been a long time since we played here, and it was a special day when we began the season here for them," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "Theres some buildings in this league that can get real loud, get the crowd into it, and the team feeds off of that. I think theres more success this year on the home teams side in the playoffs. Hopefully we can get off to a great start and quiet it as best you can. Its tough on visiting teams trying to do that this year." After the long flight Monday, the Blackhawks arrived at their Beverly Hills hotel for a night of relaxation before their attempt to break through at Staples Center. As usual, the Blackhawks set up a large players lounge at their hotel, filling it with an eye-catching buffet and multiple televisions and video game consoles -- all to promote team bonding. "The Hawks do a good job of making it easy on us," forward Patrick Sharp said. "Its a fun atmosphere to go down there and hang around with your teammates. You dont see enough of each other in Chicago with the families, people doing their own thing. Its always been fun to be on the road, be together, thinking hockey all the time." Although Quick blames himself for the Kings road struggles, he isnt the real problem for the Kings, who have won a series after trailing 0-2 just twice in franchise history. Williams realizes the Kings arent sustaining any offensive pressure on the Blackhawks, whose forechecking has kept the Kings pinned in their end for long stretches. Los Angeles scoring struggles are getting ugly, with just 29 goals in 15 playoff games -- easily the lowest scoring average for any team that won a playoff round. Its not nearly enough to hang with the Blackhawks, whose talented lineup generates goals from all four lines and its defence. The Kings have never been an offensive dynamo on the level of Chicago or Pittsburgh, but they didnt founder like this in the regular season. Their top scorers in last seasons playoffs also are struggling mightily this year: Star centre Anze Kopitar has just two goals in 15 games after enduring a lengthy goal-scoring slump to end the regular season, while captain Dustin Brown has a mere four points in the playoffs. "Its pretty fair to say as a line, were collectively in a slump," Brown said of his partnership with Kopitar and Williams. "We know what we need to do better. Getting into their offensive zone, our spacing is pretty significant. Its hard to play (without it), especially against a team like Chicago. When you dont have the spacing right, one guy eliminates the other guy." Center Mike Richards missed Game 2 with symptoms from an apparent head injury, and the Kings wont say whether hell play in Game 3. Richards, who hadnt missed a game all season, is Los Angeles leading post-season scorer with 10 points. At least Tyler Toffoli is an intriguing addition to the lineup in Richards absence. The big rookie picked up a goal in Game 2 while playing alongside top goal-scorer Jeff Carter, who moved over to centre without Richards alongside him. "Going back six games in the season, weve had trouble scoring," Sutter said. "Its not a home-road disparity at all. You know what? Were a good hockey club. Were not surprising anybody. Theres no upsets now. Were trying to surprise the team that finished first overall." The Kings championship poise might be their greatest asset in the next two games. With the confidence of last seasons 16-4 run through the playoffs still fresh in most players minds, Sutters club doesnt really get rattled -- even after winning just twice in its last seven playoff games. "You can draw on the fact weve been in this situation before," Brown said. "The series is long from over in our mindset." Cheap Wholesale Basketball Shoes . John Lucas, signed as a mentor for rookie Trey Burke, showed he can score if required, scoring 12 points of his 16 points in the second quarter as Utah built an 18-point lead. Wholesale Basketball Shoes Online . The 25-year-old Japanese star has officially been posted by his club team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles. http://www.basketballshoeswholesale.com/ . Oaklands loss to Seattle clinched the ALs best record for the Red Sox with one day to spare in the regular season. "I think everybody was kind of watching," catcher David Ross said. "Demp (Ryan Dempster) came out before he went to the bullpen and was just yelling that they lost. Clearance Basketball Shoes Online . -- The Bishops Gaiters are showing they belong among the countrys top varsity football teams. Cheap Basketball Shoes Free Shipping . Its an influence in football and a big part of the game. It has been a long road, but were finally here. Its time for the second chapter of Nate Diaz vs.?Conor McGregor.OK, so actually the road to UFC 202 on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas hasnt been long at all. This rivalry went from zero to 100, as they say, in a hurry.Five months ago, McGregor was on top of the world, calling out lightweight and welterweight champs with every breath. Now hes staring down the barrel of a second consecutive loss to Diaz, who was so disgruntled with the sport and his contract in 2014, he actually requested a release from the UFC.Mixed martial arts moves quickly, and every storyline around this rematch is a testament to that. Lets take a closer look at this welterweight rematch. Dont agree with the pick? Let me know on Twitter: @bokamotoESPN.Main eventNate Diaz (19-10) vs. Conor McGregor (19-3) Welterweight rematch Odds: Diaz +115; McGregor -125Moments before the second round of their first fight, McGregor looked across the Octagon at Diaz and said, I can go all day. All day long.About two minutes later, McGregor gassed. Diaz hurt him with one left hand and the whole dam broke. Flood Diaz. McGregor tried to circle away but couldnt evade the bigger, longer man. He went to his tried-and-true left hand to back Diaz off, but that failed as well. Eventually desperation forced him to shoot the takedown.Here are perhaps the most basic observations one can make from that fight: McGregor did very well early -- and once the tide turned, he was all but helpless.Thats worth noting because it so clearly shows how important it is for McGregor to maintain constant control of this fight. Thats always true when youre talking about a fighter moving up in weight, but its amplified here because of Diaz. You cant weather a storm on the feet and hope Diaz gasses because he doesnt gas. You cant force a takedown to buy time and clear your head because hell choke you unconscious.In other words, theres no safe place for McGregor if he loses control. If at any time he finds himself in trouble, it means hes in a lot of trouble.Now dont panic, Ireland, working in McGregors favor in all this is that he is quite good. Even taking into account the fact Diaz had no camp for the first fight, McGregors tactics in the first eight minutes were fantastic. He repeatedly came over Diazs jab with the left. He landed several hard counter left uppercuts. Weve all come to know McGregor as this towering featherweight who aggressively mauls opponents, but hes actually a very skilled counter-striker as well.Throughout his career, Diazs lead leg has been vulnerable to kicks. McGregor threw effective side kickks in the first fight, and his coach called for more but they did not show up huge in his game plan.dddddddddddd He conceded afterward he fell in love with the left hand and the lack of leg kicks is evidence of that.On the ground, its safe to assume Diaz holds a massive advantage. McGregor is not inept on the floor -- certain criticisms of his grappling have been, in my opinion, a bit exaggerated -- but at the same time, its true he hasnt had to show submission defense often in the UFC. Diazs jiu-jitsu is some of the best in the division. The canvas is not where McGregor wants to be in this fight -- ever.Diaz didnt seem intent on taking him down in March. The one takedown he was credited for came off a McGregor body kick, which he caught. Diazs wrestling is mostly set up out of the clinch, which I could see him trying to use a lot. If McGregors intent is to step off the gas and pace himself, forcing him into a clinch fight against a bigger man is a good way to blow that energy again.What is McGregors game plan on Saturday? Is it actually a very similar approach, just with different physical preparations? Is it a complete change in character -- move in and out, leg kick, circle, score points, avoid exchanges? I expect the pace to remain high but fewer power shots. Attack that lead leg and work the body more than he did the first time.PREDICTION: Two fights against Diaz will make McGregor a better fighter -- but a dimmer star. Diaz by fourth-round submission.Featured undercard boutsAnthony Johnson (21-5) vs. Glover Teixeira (25-4), light heavyweights Teixeira has all the tools to wear out Johnson over time, but Johnsons ability to just crack a dude is second to none. Its otherworldly. Prediction: Johnson via second-round KODonald Cerrone (30-7) vs. Rick Story (19-8), welterweights Cerrone is the better fighter when its all said and done, but at 170 pounds, with a strong ox of an opponent, Story can make this a dogfight that favors him. Prediction: Story via third-round TKOCody Garbrandt (9-0) vs. Takeya Mizugaki (21-9-2), bantamweights Garbrandt is the front-runner for breakout fighter of 2016. Mizugaki is a steely veteran who could always ruin the party. This storyline never gets old. Prediction: Garbrandt via second-round KONeil Magny (18-4) vs. Lorenz Larkin (17-5), welterweights? One of the more overlooked bouts on the card. Larkin should have advantages on the feet, but Magny brings a more complete package. Close fight. 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