NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Western Conference Finals Game Three: Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings
2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Western Conference Finals – Game #3
Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings
Best of Seven Series Tied 1-1
Staples Center – Los Angeles, California
Saturday, May 24, 2014, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Opening Line: Los Angeles -135 / Chicago +115
Current Line: Los Angeles -125 / Chicago +105
Opening Total: under 5 -110 / over 5 -110
Current Total: under 5 -120 / over 5 +100
The Chicago Blackhawks had a 2-0 lead late in the second period in game two of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday night. The Blackhawks had won game on at home 3-1 and looked like they had a good shot at taking a 2-0 series lead. However, the Kings stormed back with six unanswered goals to tie the series at 1-1. Now the series shifts to Los Angeles for game three Saturday night.
Chicago scored with just over 5 minutes to go in the first period in game two on a power play goal from Nick Laddy assisted by Duncan Keith. The Blackhawks expanded the lead to 2-0 less than 2 minutes into the second period on a goal from Ben Smith assisted by Brandon Bollig and Johnny Oduya. LA got back into the game with just under two minutes left in the second on a goal from Justin Williams assisted by Mike Richards and Dwight King.
In the third period, Los Angeles scored two power play goals in the first four minutes of the third from Jeff Carter and Jake Muzzin to take a 3-2 lead. Carter also had an assist on a goal from Tyler Toffoli which made it 4-2 Kings. The rout was on for the Kings as Carter scored two more goals including an empty netter to complete the hat trick and make the final 6-2.
The Kings had 31 shots and the Blackhawks had 25. The Kings dominated in the face-off circle winning 43 to 27. LA was 2 for 4 on the power play and Chicago was 1 for 4.
Los Angeles is coached by Darryl Sutter. The Kings are 55-35-2-6 this season and the total was 22-41-19 during the regular season. Chicago is coached by Joel Quenneville. The Blackhawks are 55-26-7-8 this season and the total was 39-42-1 during the regular season.
Chicago is outscoring teams 2.86-2.43 in the playoffs. The Blackhawks are sixth in goals scored and third in goals allowed. Chicago is averaging 26.4 shots per game and opponents are averaging 31.1 shots per game in the playoffs. The Blackhawks are 8 for 39 on the power play (20.5%). Chicago is second the penalty kill at 88.5% and has only allowed 6 power play goals. Chicago has won 50.2% of face-offs.
Blackhawks’ goalie Corey Crawford has a 2.11 goals against average with a .926 save percentage. Crawford has allowed 32 goals in 433 shots faced, and has one shutout. Crawford is 9-5 in the playoffs. Despite the bad third period in game two Crawford was not pulled in favor of back-up Antti Raanta, and stayed in the game until Chicago pulled him for the extra attacker.
Right wing Marian Hossa has 13 points with 11 assists. Defenseman Brent Seabrook has 11 points with 9 assists. Center Jonathan Toews has 11 points with six goals and five assists. Right wing Patrick Kane has 10 points with 6 goals and 4 assists. Left wing Brian Bickell has 9 points with 6 goals. Defenseman Duncan Keith (3G, 7A), LW Brandon Saad (3G, 6A) and LW Patrick Sharp (2G, 4A) also contribute to the scoring. Center Andrew Shaw is probable with a lower body injury after missing the last seven games. Third string goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.
Los Angeles is outscoring teams 3.25-2.62 in the playoffs. The Kings are first in goals scored and fifth in goals allowed. LA is averaging 30.4 shots per game and opponents average 29.6 per game. The Kings are 13 for 54 on the power play (24.1%) in the playoffs. LA is 82.3% on the penalty kill and has allowed 11 power play goals. The Kings have won 53.2% of face-offs in the postseason.
Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick has a goals against average of 2.70 in the playoffs with a save percentage of .912. He has allowed 41 goals in 466 shots faced with one shutout. Quick is 9-7 in the playoffs so far. Quick struggled in the first 3 games against the Sharks and was benched twice in those games. San Jose outscored the Kings 17-8 in the first 3 games, but LA outscored them 18-5 for the rest of the series. Quick has given up 3 goals or less in 12 of the last 13 games for the Kings.
LA Center Anze Kopitar leads all scorers in the playoffs with 20 points including 15 assists. Right wing Marian Gaborik has 15 points and leads the playoffs in goals with 9. Center Jeff Carter has 7 goals and 9 assists for 16 points. Right wing Justin Williams (6 goals, 6 assists) has 12 points. Defenseman Drew Doughty has 10 points with 9 assists. Center Tyler Toffoli has 9 points with 5 goals. Defenseman Jake Muzzin has 8 points with 4 goals. Defenseman Robyn Regehr is out indefinitely with an upper body injury.
Chicago is 9-2 in conference finals games, 4-1 after scoring two goals or less in the previous game, 7-2 after allowing five goals or more in the previous game, 9-3 against teams with winning records, overall and against Western Conference teams, 59-22 after the opponent allows two goals or less in the previous game, 15-7 against Pacific Division teams, 36-17 after the opponent scores 5 goals or more in the previous game, 8-20 in road games, 2-5 after a home loss of 3 or more goals, 8-20 against teams with winning records, 2-7 on two days rest, and 1-6 in Saturday games. The Blackhawks are 20-7 in the last 27 games against the Kings, including 7-2 in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is 18-6 after a win, 37-14 against teams with losing road records, 7-3 on two days rest, 9-4 against teams with winning records, overall and against Western Conference teams, 13-6 after the opponent scores two goals or less in the previous game, 52-25 at home, 2-5 after the opponent allows 5 goals or more in the previous game and in conference finals games. The home team is 7-3 in this series recently. The under is 16-7-3 in the series recently.
LA needed the win Wednesday night not just to avoid an 0-2 series hole, but to gain confidence against a team that has owned them recently. That seems strange to say for a veteran, talented team that just won the Stanley Cup two years ago. However, Chicago has won 20 of the last 27 times these teams have played including a dominating 4-1 series win in last year’s Western Conference Finals and a sweep in the regular season. I think Chicago regains the home ice advantage with a close win on the road.
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