It was a very good night for the Blackhawks, and not just on their home ice.
First, the Blackhawks won again - and did so in the assertive kind of fashion that Chicago fans have come to expect. It was playoff-level hockey against the Los Angeles Kings, the defending Stanley Cup champs who are desperate to hold on to a playoff position. Unfortunately for the Kings, not only did they lose to Chicago, but across their division, the Flames beat the Stars 5-3 for a regulation win, widening the gap that the Kings need to make up.
Secondly, the Blackhawks looked confident in this win. The lines were clicking. T euvo Teräväinen, playing on the so-called 'fou...
There are special teams and then there are not so special teams. Unfortunately for the Chicago Blackhawks the L.A. Kings power play looked like a high powered offensive juggernaut while the Blackhawks power play faltered and that is putting it kindly when they went 0 for 4 on their own man advantage.
This also made the difference in this game. Officially there was only one power play goal for the Kings but a Drew Daughty goal was even strength but with only two seconds after the penalty expired which for all intents and purposes was like a power play goal.
The scoring was started by Jonathan Toews who scored a beauty of a shorthanded goal when he busted up the far boards side ...
If you were betting on the Blackhawks sweeping the Western Conference Finals, that's a bet that was definitely lost tonight, as Chicago had their first loss on home ice in the playoffs so far.
The Blackhawks owned possession for most of the first, but the Kings were dedicating themselves to defense and commanding face offs. It was a steady parade to the box for both teams throughout the first: the Kings took four, and the Blackhawks two. Nick Leddy got Chicago on the board first, a power play goal 14:16 into the game, off a feed from Duncan Keith.
Just after Drew Doughty's late-first-period penalty expired in the second, Ben Smith made it 2-0 for the Blackhawks 1:40 in...
The Hawks have a return engagement to the Western Conference Final with a very familiar opponent, in fact the same opponent as last year, the Los Angeles Kings. In a series that could be called the tournament of champions the Hawks and the Kings are the last two Stanley Cup Champions and are looking for more championships but must get past each other first.
Throughout these playoffs we have heard the terms resolve and resiliency used on several occasions when describing the Chicago Blackhawks. Now more than ever they will need to muster all of their resolve because the LA Kings have an equal amount and know how to win and what it takes.
There is nothing better than perfection and that is exactly what Antti Raanta and the Blackhawks were when they faced a very tough physical LA Kings team. Much has been said about the Kings’ back up netminder Martin Jones who was excellent as well but on this night it was Raanta that was perfect.
The game had all the feel of a playoff game with hard hitting and very close gaps and tight checking which, are staples of playoff games. This type of game should benefit the Kings, but it was the defending Stanley Cup champs that out LAed LA. It proved once again the Blackhawks can play any way you want them to.
The lone Blackhawks’ goal came in the first period by Brando...
In an absolutely dreadful game for the Hawks nothing seemed to go right except for Patrick Kane. Every team has a stinker and the Hawks are no different from any other NHL team and this game they can chalk up to just one of those nights.
From the very start of the game, the Hawks took too many penalties as special teams were the order in the first period. Peter Holland scored on the power play for the Maple Leafs as they went 1-3 on the power play.
The Hawks got a five on three power play when Patrick Kane got the benefit of a deflection off of Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf past Jonathan Bernier to tie everything up at 1-1 and the period ended.
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.
Sometimes you can get both what you want and what you need. The Chicago Blackhawks did just that as they opened the Western Conference Finals against the defending Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings with a solid team victory.
Not only did the Blackhawks get an important first win but they may have just proved they can play a physical style of hockey with the best of them. Even though the Kings had more hits 44 to the Hawks 38 the bigger hits went to the Hawks.
Viktor Stalberg had a bone cruncher on Kings Dman Jake Muzzin. The biggest hit may have come late in the third when Dave Bolland rocked Mike Richards who never did come back on the ice and maybe under review by the league. Th...
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...