NHL Western Conference Finals Game Four: Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings

2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Western Conference Finals – Game #4

Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings
Kings Lead Best of Seven Series 2-1
Staples Center – Los Angeles, California
Monday, May 26, 2014, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
Opening Line: Los Angeles -130 / Chicago +110
Current Line: Los Angeles -125 / Chicago +105
Opening Total: under 5 -110 / over 5 -110
Current Total: under 5 -120 / over 5 +100

Chicago looks to even the Western Conference Finals against LA in game four Monday night.
Chicago looks to even the Western Conference Finals against LA in game four Monday night.

The Los Angeles Kings lost game one of the Western Conference Finals 3-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago. The Blackhawks were up 2-0 late in the second period of game two, but the Kings scored six unanswered goals to tie the series 1-1. Los Angeles returned home and won game three 4-3 Saturday night to take a 2-1 series lead. Game Four is Monday night also in LA. The Kings look to take a 3-1 series lead, while the Blackhawks looks to tie the series going back to Chicago for game five Wednesday.

Chicago scored first 5 minutes into game three on an unassisted shorthanded goal from Jonathan Toews. LA tied it up 45 seconds later on a power play goal from Slava Voynov assisted by Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty. Toews would score again with 7 minutes left in the first to give Chicago a 2-1 lead, assisted by Michal Rozsival and Marian Hossa. Carter tied it up with a goal 8 minutes into the second period, on an assist from Tanner Pearson. Tyler Toffoli put the Kings ahead 3-2 six minutes later, assisted by Carter and Willie Mitchell. Chicago has had no answer for the Carter-Toffoli-Pearson line in the last two games.

In the third period, LA added an insurance goal from Doughty with just under 8 minutes to go in the third to make it 4-2, with assists from Jake Muzzin and Justin Williams. The Blackhawks added a window dressing goal from Patrick Sharp with 5 seconds left to make the final 4-3. Nick Leddy recorded an assist on that goal.

Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick recorded 24 saves and faced 27 shots. Blackhawks’ goalie Corey Crawford allowed 4 goals on 32 shots. LA was 1 for 3 on the power play while Chicago was 0 for 4. The Kings won 30 faceoffs and Chicago won 27.

Los Angeles is coached by Darryl Sutter. The Kings are 56-35-2-6 this season and the total was 22-41-19 during the regular season. Chicago is coached by Joel Quenneville. The Blackhawks are 55-27-7-8 this season and the total was 39-42-1 during the regular season.

Chicago is outscoring teams 2.87-2.53 in the playoffs. The Blackhawks are averaging 26.4 shots per game and opponents are averaging 31.1 shots per game in the playoffs. The Blackhawks are 8 for 43 on the power play (18.6%). Chicago is second the penalty kill at 87.3% and has only allowed 7 power play goals. Chicago has won 50% of face-offs.

Blackhawks’ goalie Corey Crawford has a 2.23 goals against average with a .923 save percentage. Crawford has allowed 36 goals in 465 shots faced, and has one shutout. Crawford is 9-6 in the playoffs.

Right wing Marian Hossa has 14 points with 12 assists. Center Jonathan Toews has 13 points with eight goals and five assists. Defenseman Brent Seabrook has 11 points with 9 assists. Right wing Patrick Kane has 10 points with 6 goals and 4 assists. Defenseman Duncan Keith (3G, 7A), LW Brian Bickell (6G, 3A), LW Brandon Saad (3G, 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 outscoring teams 3.29-2.65 in the playoffs. The Kings are averaging 30.5 shots per game and opponents average 29.5 per game. The Kings are  14 for 57 on the power play (24.6%) in the playoffs. LA is 83.3% on the penalty kill and has allowed 11 power play goals. The Kings have won 53.1% of face-offs in the postseason.

Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick has a goals against average of 2.72 in the playoffs with a save percentage of .911. He has allowed 44 goals in 493 shots faced with one shutout. Quick is 10-7 in the playoffs so far.

LA Center Anze Kopitar leads all scorers in the playoffs with 20 points including 15 assists. Center Jeff Carter has 8 goals and 11 assists for 19 points.  Right wing Marian Gaborik has 15 points and leads the playoffs in goals with 9.  Right wing Justin Williams (6 goals, 7 assists) has 13 points. Defenseman Drew Doughty has 12 points with 10 assists. Center Tyler Toffoli has 10 points with 6 goals. Left Wing Tanner Pearson has 10 points with 8 assists. Defenseman Jake Muzzin has 9 points with 4 goals. Defenseman Robyn Regehr is out indefinitely with an upper body injury.

Chicago is 7-1 on one day rest, 9-3 in conference finals games, 29-10 in Monday games, 9-4 against teams with winning records, overall and against Western Conference teams, 7-19 in road games and against teams with winning home records. The Blackhawks are 20-8 against the Kings recently, including 7-3 in LA.

Los Angeles is 4-1 against teams with winning records, overall and against Western Conference teams, 38-13 against teams with losing road records,  19-7 after a win, 5-2 against Central Division teams, 7-3 on one day rest, 21-9 in Monday games, and 53-25 at home. The home team is 8-3 in this series recently. The over is 3-1-1 in LA in this series recently.

Los Angeles lost in five games last season to the Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals and were never in the series. It has been a different story this series. These two teams have won the last two Stanley Cups, LA in 2012 and Chicago in 2013. Chicago needs to get more from their stars like Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp. Still, I think Chicago wins on the road to tie the series. If not they will be on the brink of elimination.

Our hockey handicappers are red hot in the playoffs. Don’t miss out on anymore winners.


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