Blackhawks end their season on OT Game 7 loss
Plenty of people thought that, like last year, the Chicago Blackhawks would push past the LA Kings in the Western Conference Finals. But 2014’s battle between the two teams would be different, from beginning to end; the Kings would manage to put the Blackhawks against the wall with a 3-1 series lead, only to see the Hawks come back and force a Game 7.
And they’d play hard. Both of these teams gave 100% during the 65:47 minutes they played, all the way into overtime, where Alec Martinez would put an end to the Blackhawks’ season.
The Hawks started well, though, with Brandon Saad opening the scoring 5 minutes into the first, followed three minutes later by a powerplay goal from the captain, Jonathan Toews. The two LA goals that followed, one at 16:31 by Jeff Carter and the second at 17:22 by Justin Williams, would be the first of three times the Kings would rally and tie the game.
Just twelve seconds after Williams’ goal, Patrick Sharp would score his first of the night, and would close out the scoring for the first frame.
The second would start just as intense, with the Blackhawks dominating the first half of the period, spending most of their time in the Kings’ zone. But it’d be the Kings that got the first goal of the period, 10:31 in, a wrist shot from Tyler Toffoli, who has been outstanding in the Kings’ postseason.
The Blackhawks would get the lead once again, though, when Patrick Sharp scored his second goal of the night at 18:25 of the second period, during an LA penalty. The Hawks have scored twice on 5 powerplay chances during this game.
At the beginning of the third frame, Chicago was leading 4-3, and managed to keep the edge for 12:43 of an intense back-and-forth of a period. But Marian Gaborik, on a Dustin Brown feed, got the puck behind Corey Crawford, tying the game at 4 apiece and 7 minutes left to play.
Despite some great chances on both sides, and great saves throughout by both goaltenders, Crawford and Jonathan Quick, this Game 7 would head to overtime. And 5:47 into overtime, Martinez would score on a tip-in from a Justin Williams’ shot, taking the Kings to victory, and ending the Blackhawks’ season.
It was, overall, an intense, brilliant series, and a great end to another amazing season for the Blackhawks. There was no ‘Cup hangover’ for Chicago, who went further on the way to a repeat than most teams in recent history. And the LA Kings are a team often easily dismissed, when they have been having a very strong postseason, and are now heading to their second Stanley Cup Final in three seasons.