For all the difficulties they endured along the way, the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings are still standing.
They might want to buckle up, though. The ride could get even wilder.
The Blackhawks and Kings are poised for what could be a tight and lengthy Western Conference finals, with Game 1 at the United Center on Saturday.
The Kings already have more playoff losses than they did a year ago when they went on a 16-4 run through the postseason to capture the Stanley Cup as an eighth seed.
''I cited critical moments last year,'' Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said. ''There were several of them this year where they were severely tested. They keep finding a way to fight through, as they've done at times during the playoffs.
All they did was rally from a 3-1 deficit to beat Detroit in the conference semifinals, taking Game 7 2-1 on Brent Seabrook's overtime goal to remain in the hunt for their second title in four years.
''You don't draw it up, you don...