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...
The LA Kings have not scored a goal since their GWG on February 17th, a 3-2 win vs. the Coyotes. They were shut out on home ice first by Dallas, and then by the Canucks. Prior to that pair of games, the Kings had outscored their prior three opponents by a margin of 12-4.
The Blackhawks have beaten the Kings twice already this season: 5-2 at the Kings home opener; and then 3-2 at Chicago on February 17th. Vancouver and Detroit have been hot as of late; their wins have bumped the Kings down to 6th in the West. It all adds up to a lot of incentive for the Kings.
So, as the Kings begin a 5-game road trip -- which includes their visit to the White House with the Stanley C...
Cup hangover for the Kings? No - the time spent in the lockout eliminated that possibility for the Kings.
So perhaps it was simply the huge anticipation and emotional output that a team faces, raising a Stanley Cup banner to the rafters.
Two years ago, the Chicago Blackhawks stood in the Kings' shoes - except for the Blackhawks, the emotion of the moment was all the more poignant due to massive summer roster turnover. The Kings had almost none, beyond a player being traded this past week, and one of their assistant coaches who is now standing behind the bench for their Opening Night opponents.
The Hawks have been there, and were able to channel that kn...
As the season is about to begin, the TCL team of Blackhawks writers give their predictions for the abbreviated (2012-) 2013 season. (Writers are listed alphabetically.)
CHERYL ADAMS (@HockeyBroad)
Central division will finish: 1) Blues, 2) Blackhawks, 3) Nashville, 4) Detroit, 5) Columbus
This is going to be an interesting year in the Central. The Blues have proven persistent and should look to repeat from last year. It's a tough call between the Preds and the Red Wins, but the Preds are hungrier for the Cup and will look to prove themselves after finally breaking into the second round. It's a rebuilding year for the Wings after losing their ...
The Staples Center will be packed tomorrow with fans eagerly awaiting the return of their Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings. Celebrations are scheduled to begin long before the start of the banner raising ceremony at 3pm ET (2pm CT), officially sealing off the Kings’ 2011-2012 victory year, and announcing the hunt for a new champion.
For Chicago Blackhawks, the spectacle will be all too familiar, it being only two years...