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LA Kings eager to lift Stanley Cup in Game 5

June 13, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals is the hottest ticket in Hollywood.

Fans are paying hundreds of dollars for the cheapest seats at Staples Center on Friday. Thousands more are expected downtown, simply hoping to be nearby when the Los Angeles Kings claim the Cup for the second time in three years.

The Kings are trying to block out every iota of anticipation. They know they can’t think about anything but the first period against the New York Rangers, or they’ll likely face another cross-country flight in what’s already the longest postseason in NHL history.

When the Kings closed in on a sweep in the Cup finals two years ago, they were besieged by phone calls, ticket requests, and overwhelming attention. They promptly went out and lost twice to the New Jersey Devils before finally finishing in Game 6.

“I guess practice makes perfect,” Mike Richards said on Thursday after a light skate at the Kings’ training complex in El Segundo. “Everyone is more equipped now, or more ready for it, more aware of what the distractions are and how they can present themselves, and what you need to do to push them away.”

The Rangers are in their best spot in the series after winning Game 4 in New York despite Los Angeles’ overwhelming control of the final 30 minutes. And though they’re 0-2 at Staples Center in the series, the Rangers largely played well — and never trailed — in those two overtime losses.

Goalie Henrik Lundqvist took control of Game 4 with 40 saves, and he’s eager to steal another win that would make the Rangers’ unlikely quest awfully interesting.

“I know if we win (Game 5), they’re definitely going to feel the pressure,” Lundqvist said. “We were in that spot playing Montreal. The closer you are to your final goal, obviously you tend to think more. That’s just the way you work. It’s hard not to.”

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