And then there were two. It took two overtimes for the Chicago Blackhawks to punch their ticket back to the Stanley Cup Finals but they did. They now are returning there for an opportunity at the most coveted trophy in sports.
The game saw the return of two key players for each side, Mike Richards for the Kings and Duncan Keith for the Blackhawks. Both players factored into the game in significant ways.
Duncan Keith got the scoring going in the first with what would have to be categorized as a soft goal by Jonathan Quick. Keith fired off a slap shot just inside the Kings blue line that squeaked through Quick’s pads into the net.
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.
The New York Islanders are currently on the outside looking in on the final match-ups of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who elimated the Isles in six games, are currently set to battle the Boston Bruins to see who will fight for the Cup from the Eastern Conference (Photo credit: douglasgallery30/Flickr).
One Islanders skater, Travis Hamonic, has been spending time in his cottage up north in Canada, enjoying some personal time away from the game.
The 22-year old defenseman is someone I have followed since his days in the WHL after being drafted by the Islanders with the 53rd overall pick of the 2008 Entry Draft. Since then, he has emerged from an inexperienced rookie into a reliable top-four defender, responsible for shutting down an opponent's top scorers.
Hamonic called me this afternoon (once he found a spot with good cell service) to discuss his game, the first round match-up against the Pens and the culture that has overtaken the Islanders locker room.
As the series shifts to the Motor City it is now the best of five series with each club notching a victory. Chicago has now lost home ice advantage in this series and need to reclaim it quick. The Blackhawks do not have to wait long with a quick turnaround time.
Games one and two were mirror images of each other with vastly differing results for each club. In game two Detroit found their skating legs with ample time off to rest and it appears they have recovered from the Anaheim Ducks series and are looking like the Detroit Red Wings that have gone to 22 consecuti...
On the same day at the Preakness Stakes, the Blackhawks were off to the races early against the Detroit Red Wings.
Unfortunately, much like a race horse, they were spent for the afternoon after the first initial sprint, and got out-skated and out-worked the rest of the game.
Patrick Sharp got a breakaway late in the third. After getting Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard to commit to defending him, Sharp passed it across the ice via Michael Handzus to Patrick Sharp. Howard lunged across the goal, but couldn't stop the Blackhawks sniper making it 1-0, 5:55 into the first.
Detroit was committed to defense after a poor showing in game 1, and displayed better pas...
With Pittsburgh beating Ottawa 4 - 1 and Los Angeles beating San Jose 2 - 0 last night, The Checking Line: Isles Edition will take a look into the other two semifinal series. (Photo Credit: Torch Creative)