All the talk swirling around this series for the past two days has centered around the Kings' dominance at home. Through two series, Los Angeles has been 7-0 at home, despite a mostly-poor road performance.
In tonight's game at the Staples Center, the Blackhawks played like they expected the Kings to win. Unfortunately for them, it wasn't until the third period that they looked like they realized they didn't need to give the game away.
On the positive side: despite poor play for two periods, being out-shot (28-20; 60-40 once factoring in all shot attempts) and out-hit, despite being just 41% on the dot and 15 giveaways, the Blackhawks limited the King...
As of tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks have now won five straight games in the playoffs. It's not the same streak as the one that started the season, but it's certainly one that they'll take, because it means they're off to a 2-0 start in the Western Conference Final.
It didn't take long for the Blackhawks to score in game 2; Andrew Shaw dented the twine just 1:56 into the first. The Blackhawks took two penalties during the period, but the Kings couldn't convert, even while outshooting Chicago 13-9. Brent Seabrook hammered in a second goal with 51 seconds remaining in the first to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead.
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...
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.
After the outcome of game three, the reports of the demise of the Detroit Red Wings were grossly underestimated.
The Chicago Blackhawks knew going in that the Red Wings were going to do whatever they could to get them off of their game. Detroit's strategy working thus far. The Red Wings beat the Blackhawks 3-1 to take a decisive 2-1 lead in the best of seven Western Conference semifinal.
Game three was a much chippier affair. Both teams combined for 12 penalties. Seven of which were committed by the Blackhawks. Detroit continued to w...