Game #1- Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks
Game Time-4pm Central
Season Series- The Blackhawks won the season series 2-1.
Preview- The Kings have arrived in their second straight Western Conference Finals with the same formula as last season which is ride Jonathan Quick! The road through two series has been extremely harder than last season for the Kings when they were up 3-0 in all four series while skating away with the Stanley Cup. The Kings have won 14 straight at Staples Center but are only 1-5 on the road in this season Cup playoffs. The Kings have not been scoring a lot of goals but they don’t need a lot with Quick in between the pipes. The Kings are coming off a Game 7 home victory against the Sharks so extended rest will not be a factor in Game 1. Darryl Sutter is no-nonsense leader that is very good coach even if you won’t hear the NBC crew talk as glowingly about him like they did about Mike Babcock.
The Hawks stared down elimination three straight times and survived. The Hawks now get to play in the Western Conference Finals for the third time in five seasons. The Hawks need to get the big guns going. The Hawks greatness for the regular season has been rolling four lines, but in the end the big names need to still be highly productive. Outside of Patrick Sharp, the Hawks stars have been negated by the other teams top lines. The bottom six has saved the day but as the playoffs gets deeper the stars will need to show their presence. The one guy that needs to calm down some is Andrew Shaw who has been extremely good and extremely bad but will need to do his best Johnny Cash and Walk the line. The 2nd leading scorer is Bryan Bickell and his big body will be needed against an extremely physical team in the Kings.
Both goalies are giving up 1.5 goals a game so hopefully the difference maker won’t be an incredibly soft goal. Crawford seemed to turn a corner against Detroit Red Wings after he whiffed on the Game #6 goal.
Prediction- The Hawks carry over the momentum from the Game #7 win and take Game 1 with a 3-2 victory.
What is your prediction for Game #1?
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