2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Western Conference Finals – Game #7
Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks
Best of Seven Series tied 3-3
United Center – Chicago, Illinois
Sunday, June 1, 2014, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
Opening Line: Chicago -155 / Los Angeles +135
Current line: Chicago -145 / Los Angeles +125
Opening Total: under 5 -110 / over 5 -110
Current Total: under 5 -115 / over 5 -105
Going into the Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, the consensus was this was going to be a great series between the last two Stanley Cup champions. It hasn’t failed to live up to those expectations as it is going to the full seven games. The winner will host the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals starting Wednesday.
The Kings are no stranger to elimination games as they are 6-0 in the post season so far in those games. LA was down 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks in the first round and 3-2 against the Anaheim Ducks. The Kings came back to win both series including game seven on the road in both. LA is only the third team in NHL history to play three seven game series in the first three rounds of the playoffs along with the 1993 Toronto Maple Leafs and 2002 Colorado Avalanche. Both of those teams lost game seven in the conference finals.
Chicago is playing in their first game seven in the playoffs after beating the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild in six games each. The Blackhawks are looking to come back from a 3-1 series deficit for only the second time in franchise history after beating the Detroit Red Wings in the second round of last year’s playoffs.
Los Angeles led this series 3-1 but Chicago has won two straight one goal games to force game seven. Chicago won game one 3-1 at home. LA won the next three games 6-2 in Chicago, 4-3 and 5-2 in Los Angeles. The Blackhawks stayed alive in game five with a 5-4 win in double overtime of game five in Chicago. Chicago then took game six Friday night 4-3 in Los Angeles. Kings’ defenseman Drew Doughty said after game six that they won’t squander a third opportunity to put away the Blackhawks.
Dwight King opened the scoring for Los Angeles in game six with a goal with less than 3 minutes left in the first period, assisted by Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams. Chicago scored two in the first three minutes of the second period to take a 2-1 lead. Patrick Kane scored a power play goal assisted by Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook. Ben Smith scored about a minute and a half later, assisted by Patrick Sharp and Seabrook. At the end of the second period goalies Corey Crawford (CHI) and Jonathan Quick (LA) got into a verbal confrontation while teams were skating off the ice for the second intermission. Had this been a regular season, they might have gotten physical but they just jawed at each other.
Doughty scored 5 minutes into the third to tie it up, assisted by Dustin Brown and Mike Richards. Two minutes later Alec Martinez scored a power play goal assisted by Doughty to give LA a 3-2 lead. Duncan Keith tied it up for the Blackhawks with just over 8 minutes left assisted by Kane and Andrew Shaw. With 3:45 left in the game Kane gave Chicago a 4-3 lead on a beautiful goal assisted by Brandon Saad and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Neither team would score again as Chicago won.
Crawford made 26 saves on 29 shots faced. Quick made 21 saves on 25 shots. Both teams were 1 for 2 on the power play. Chicago won 31 face-offs to 30 for LA.
Los Angeles is coached by Darryl Sutter. The Kings are 57-37-2-6 this season and the total was 22-41-19 during the regular season. Chicago is coached by Joel Quenneville. The Blackhawks are 57-28-7-8 this season and the total was 39-42-1 during the regular season.
Los Angeles is outscoring teams 3.40-2.80 in the playoffs. The Kings are averaging 30.6 shots per game and opponents average 29.8 per game. The Kings are 17 for 65 on the power play (26.2%) in the playoffs. LA is 82.7% on the penalty kill and has allowed 13 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 2.82 in the playoffs with a save percentage of .906. He has allowed 55 goals in 587 shots faced with one shutout. Quick is 11-9 in the playoffs so far.
LA Center Anze Kopitar leads all scorers in the playoffs with 23 points including 18 assists. Center Jeff Carter has 8 goals and 13 assists for 21 points. Right wing Marian Gaborik has 18 points and leads the playoffs in goals with 11. Right wing Justin Williams (6 goals, 10 assists) has 16 points. Defenseman Drew Doughty has 14 points with 12 assists. Left Wing Tanner Pearson has 12 points with 8 assists. Center Tyler Toffoli has 11 points with 6 goals. Defenseman Jake Muzzin has 11 points with 5 goals. Defenseman Robyn Regehr is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
Chicago is outscoring teams 3.00-2.78 in the playoffs. The Blackhawks are averaging 27.2 shots per game and opponents are averaging 31.2 shots per game in the playoffs. The Blackhawks are 10 for 52 on the power play (19.2%). Chicago is 84.1% on the penalty kill and has allowed 10 power play goals. Chicago has won 49.5% of face-offs.
Blackhawks’ goalie Corey Crawford has a 2.41 goals against average with a .916 save percentage. Crawford has allowed 47 goals in 558 shots faced, and has one shutout. Crawford is 11-7 in the playoffs.
Right wing Patrick Kane has 18 points with 8 goals and 10 assists. Center Jonathan Toews has 16 points with eight goals and eight assists. Right wing Marian Hossa has 14 points with 12 assists. Left Wing Brandon Saad has 14 points with 9 assists. Defenseman Brent Seabrook has 14 points with 11 assists. Defenseman Duncan Keith (4G, 7A), LW Brian Bickell (7G, 3A), D Johnny Oduya (2G, 5A), LW Patrick Sharp (3G, 5A) and center Andrew Shaw (2G, 5A) also contribute to the scoring. Third string goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.
Chicago is 9-2 on one day rest, 8-2 after a win, 51-18 at home, 11-4 in conference finals games, 62-28 against teams with winning road records, 11-5 overall, against teams with winning records, and against Western Conference teams, and 43-20 in Sunday games. The home team is 10-4 in this series recently. The Blackhawks are 22-9 against the Kings recently including 7-1 in Chicago. The last 5 games in this series have gone over the total. The under is 23-10-3 in Chicago in this series recently.
Even as well as the New York Rangers are playing right now, the winner of game seven between the Kings and Blackhawks will be a significant favorite to win the Cup. Both of these teams pride themselves on their defense but there have been at least 7 goals scored in the last 5 games of this series. It has been entertaining high scoring hockey. This series has already become a classic, and a great game seven would only be the cherry on top. I think the Kings win a close game seven on the road with Quick having a great game after struggling in the last two games.
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