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Richards' return to Kings nearly a storybook ending
The game-time decision to play the star center nearly paid off 100 percent.
But Richards forced the game into overtime with only 9.4 seconds left, scoring on a deflection to tie the game 3-3 at the United Center. It gave the defending champions a chance to go back to the Stanley Cup Final until Patrick Kane thwarted their mission with the game-winner, his third goal of the night.
Before his injury, he had led the Kings with 10 playoff points off two goals and eight assists.
The Kings were beat up more than many realized during their playoff run, Sutter said after the team was eliminated.
“I know it's something that gets talked lots about,” he said. “You have to stay healthy. You have to be close to 100 percent, especially with your top guys. I know we weren't.”
“As you know, I think we went further than (many expected),” Sutter said. “We went to the (Western) Conference finals again. That tells you how fine a line it is. We accomplished everything. Once you set the bar up there, then that's your bar. So obviously we're disappointed to lose to Chicago, but we're certainly not disappointed in how we played.”
Center Anze Kopitar's slump officially ended in Game 5.
After scoring only two goals through the playoffs — and none against the Blackhawks in the first four games of the series — he was critical Saturday night.