NHL Playoffs Western Conference Finals Game Five: Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks
2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Western Conference Finals – Game #5
Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks
Kings Lead Best of Seven Series 3-1
United Center – Chicago, Illinois
Wednesday, May 28. 2014, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
Opening Line: Chicago -140 / Los Angeles +120
Current line: Chicago -145 / Los Angeles +125
Opening Total: under 5 -110 / over 5 -110
Current Total: under 5 -115 / over 5 -105
After losing game one of the Western Conference Finals 3-1 at the Chicago Blackhawks, the Los Angeles Kings have won three straight games to take a commanding series lead. The Kings won game two in Chicago 6-2, before winning both games in LA 4-3 in game three and 5-2 in game four Monday night. Now the Kings are one win away from returning to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in three years after winning the Cup in 2012. Chicago looks to avoid elimination in game five at home Wednesday night.
The Blackhawks have only come back from a 3-1 series deficit to win the series once in franchise history. That one time was last year in the second round against the Detroit Red Wings. Chicago would go on to win the Stanley Cup last year, beating the Kings in five games in the Western Conference Finals. LA has never lost a series after taking a 3-1 series lead in four previous times. The Kings were down 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks in the first round of this year’s playoffs and came back to win the series.
In game four Monday night, Los Angeles scored 3 first period goals and never looked back as they took command of the series. Jake Muzzin opened the scoring for the Kings 9 minutes into the game on a power play goal assisted by Drew Doughty and Tyler Toffoli. Marian Gaborik scored two minutes later to make it 2-0 on an assist from Anze Kopitar. Dustin Brown scored with just over 4 minutes to go in the period on a power play goal assisted by Justin Williams and Muzzin.
Doughty scored with just over over 7 minutes left in the second to make it 4-0 Kings, assisted by Kopitar and Williams. Chicago finally got on the board just over a minute later on a goal from Brandon Saad assisted by Michal Rozsival. The Blackhawks made it 4-2 midway through the third period on a goal from Bryan Bickell, assisted by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Tanner Pearson added an empty net goal with just over a minute left to make the final 5-2, assisted by Jeff Carter.
LA goalie Jonathan Quick stopped 22 of the 24 shots he faced. Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made 16 saves on 20 shots faced. Overall, the Kings had 21 shots. The Kings were 2 for 3 on the power play, and the Blackhawks were 0 for 3. Los Angeles won 33 face-offs to 24 for Chicago.
Los Angeles is coached by Darryl Sutter. The Kings are 57-35-2-6 this season and the total was 22-41-19 during the regular season. Chicago is coached by Joel Quenneville. The Blackhawks are 55-28-7-8 this season and the total was 39-42-1 during the regular season.
Los Angeles is outscoring teams 3.39-2.61 in the playoffs. The Kings are averaging 30 shots per game and opponents average 29.2 per game. The Kings are 16 for 60 on the power play (26.7%) in the playoffs. LA is 84.1% on the penalty kill and has allowed 11 power play goals. The Kings have won 53.4% of face-offs in the postseason.
Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick has a goals against average of 2.68 in the playoffs with a save percentage of .911. He has allowed 46 goals in 517 shots faced with one shutout. Quick is 11-7 in the playoffs so far.
LA Center Anze Kopitar leads all scorers in the playoffs with 22 points including 17 assists. Center Jeff Carter has 8 goals and 12 assists for 20 points. Right wing Marian Gaborik has 16 points and leads the playoffs in goals with 10. Right wing Justin Williams (6 goals, 9 assists) has 15 points. Defenseman Drew Doughty has 14 points with 11 assists. Center Tyler Toffoli has 11 points with 6 goals. Left Wing Tanner Pearson has 11 points with 8 assists. Defenseman Jake Muzzin has 11 points with 5 goals. Defenseman Robyn Regehr is out indefinitely with an upper body injury.
Chicago is outscoring teams 2.81-2.69 in the playoffs. The Blackhawks are averaging 26.2 shots per game and opponents are averaging 30.5 shots per game in the playoffs. The Blackhawks are 8 for 46 on the power play (17.4%). Chicago is 84.5% on the penalty kill and has allowed 9 power play goals. Chicago has won 49.6% of face-offs.
Blackhawks’ goalie Corey Crawford has a 2.34 goals against average with a .918 save percentage. Crawford has allowed 40 goals in 485 shots faced, and has one shutout. Crawford is 9-7 in the playoffs.
Right wing Marian Hossa has 14 points with 12 assists. Center Jonathan Toews has 14 points with eight goals and fsix assists. Defenseman Brent Seabrook has 11 points with 9 assists. Right wing Patrick Kane has 11 points with 6 goals and 5 assists. Defenseman Duncan Keith (3G, 7A), LW Brian Bickell (7G, 3A), LW Brandon Saad (4G, 6A) and LW Patrick Sharp (3G, 4A) also contribute to the scoring. Center Andrew Shaw is probable with a lower body injury after returning to lineup in game three after missing the previous seven games. Third string goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.
Los Angeles is 5-1 against teams with winning records, overall, and against Western Conference teams, 4-1 after scoring 5 goals or more in the previous game, 20-6 after a win, 23-7 in Wednesday games, 6-2 in road games and against Central Division teams, 8-3 on one day rest, and 14-6 when the opponent scores 2 goals or less in the previous game. The over is 4-1 overall in this series, but the under is 18-7-2 recently in Chicago.
Chicago is 7-2 on one day rest, 50-18 at home, 59-23 when the opponent allows 2 goals or less in the previous game, 10-4 after allowing 5 goals or more in the previous game, 9-4 after scoring 2 goals or less, and in Conference Finals games, 61-28 against teams with winning road records, 42-20 in Wednesday games, 33-16 after the opponent scores 5 goals or more in the previous game, 1-4 after a loss by 3 or more goals and against Pacific Division teams. The home team is 9-3 in this series recently. The Blackhawks are 20-9 overall against the Kings recently, including 6-1 in Chicago.
The Kings came into the playoffs as the lowest scoring team among the 16 playoff qualifiers. LA has been successful in recent years because of their strong defense and the stellar goaltending of Quick. However, in the playoffs, LA is scoring almost a goal more per game than in the regular season. They have added an explosive offense to the defense and are dominating Chicago in all aspects. The Blackhawks on the other hand averaged more than 3 goals a game in the regular season, but their offense has slowed down in the playoffs. The Blackhawks have won the Cup twice since 2010, so it won’t be easy to knock them out. I think the Blackhawks win to force game six Friday night in LA.
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