Could the Stanley Cup Conference Final round have turned out any better? The NHL could not have dreamed that after the lockout-shortened season that the Final Four would be Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh.
In the West, it comes down to the reigning Stanley Cup champs, the Los Angeles Kings, and this year's Presidents' Trophy winner, the Chicago Blackhawks. The two teams have very distinct personalities, and the series has all the ingredients for an epic series.
Storylines? Check - on both ends of the ice.
Both teams want to prove a point - check. The Kings hope to become the first repeat Cup winners since the Red Wings last did it fift...
The shortened season and two rounds of the playoffs have rushed by like a freight train. Tomorrow is the first day of June and the four best teams in the NHL take the ice in the conference finals in the quest for the Cup.
For the first time since 1945 the conference finals pit the four previous Stanley Cup Champions against one another. There’s no rest for the Kings or Blackhawks, both seventh game victors and somehow favorites to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Jonathan Quick and Corey Crawford have led their teams from their nets. After a shaky season Quick has not only returned but improved from his Conn Smythe performance from last postsea...
The Chicago Blackhawks had rallied from a 1-3 series deficit to force game seven. And what a game seven it was, one to send off the Red Wings to the Eastern Conference with a memorable farewell.
At the end of the day, this series was a wake-up call for the Blackhawks. The Minnesota Wild had never pushed the Hawks up against the ropes. A couple of games with less-than-stellar effort, and the Presidents' Trophy winners were suddenly at risk of being knocked out in the second round.
Somewhere between game four and seven, the Blackhawks began waking up, finding their game again. They won game five, then six, a...
After a playoff-shortened season, the NHL gets the kind of finish it can only have dreamed about.
Going into tonight's game between Chicago and Detroit, the last five teams standing are those who have won the Stanley Cup over the past five seasons: Detroit (2008), Pittsburgh (2009), Chicago (2010), Boston (2011), and Los Angeles (2012). Four major, long-time hockey markets, and last year's defending Cup champs.
The only way the league could have scripted it any better is if the Final comes down to the Blackhawks versus the Penguins, the two powerhouses of the NHL and regular-season winners of their respective conferences in a winner-take-all showdown.
The Blackhawks got off to a solid start in game six, the kind that won them game five. Marian Hossa got a power play goal just 3:53 into the first to give them a leg up. Chicago was controlling the puck, pressuring the Red Wings, and outshooting Detroit.
Patrick Eaves tied it up by putting the Red Wings on the board with just 1:09 left in the first.
Chicago let the Red Wings dictate the pace of the game in the second. Detroit drew even on shots on goal, then by the end of the period, were outshooting the Blackhawks 28-20. The Red Wings also owned the faceoff dot through two, at 65%.
In Saturday's game, it was said that by the time the Blackhawks were u...
Coach Joel Quenneville knew that something had to be done to get the Blackhawks back on track for the series, so he started out with a change on who took the first faceoff. Michael Handzus took the first faceoff of the game on the first line spot usually reserved for Jonathan Toews.
The Blackhawks made a much better start to the game than they had in the past two, spending more time in the Red Wings' zone and getting back to the style of puck possession that they prefer, instead of constantly chasing down the opposition. Additionally, the Detroit defense kept making bad turnovers at the beginning of the game. Things were looking good for Chicago.