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This might be the final chapter in the Los Angeles Kings' amazing playoffs run, but Anze Kopitar warns that the fourth win is usually the toughest.
An amazing run through the post-season -- including just two losses and a perfect road record -- and Los Angeles' nearly five-decade wait for a Stanley Cup title might come to an end Wednesday night when the Kings meet the New Jersey Devils in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center.
The Kings hold a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The black-and-white steamroller that frustrated and stymied the Devils in Game 3 -- a dominant 4-0 Kings' win that included a demoralizing 5-on-three penalty kill -- provided every reason to believe LA will close out the series Wednesday night.
That kind of play and more magic from goaltender Jonathan Quick would give LA its first Stanley Cup title in the team's 45-year history.
Watching this team's historic march through the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- it began with a 4-1 series win over heavily favored Vancouver -- has been captivating, sometimes even breath-taking. They have provided LA with a wild ride that included two gripping overtime wins in the Stanley Cup Final.
But nobody wants to hop a plane back to Newark for Game 5.
"We're a focused group right now,'' said winger Justin Williams. "We're not going to let anything get in our way. We certainly don't want to get back on that plane. We're tasting that we're close and that should drive us even more.''
Of the 25 previous times a team took a 3-0 lead in the final since the best-of-seven format was adopted in 1939, only once has that failed to win the Stanley Cup. That team was the 1942 Detroit Red Wings, which lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"As we all know, the fourth one is the toughest one, but I'm sure on Wednesday the crowd is going to be just as excited as us to get going again,'' said center Anze Kopitar.