May 4, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) skates in front of Minnesota Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov (middle) past defenseman Jared Spurgeon (46) during game two of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The Blackhawks are returning to the Western Conference Finals for the fourth time in the last six seasons. They will be facing a familiar opponent in the La Kings. Last season the Blackhawks dispatched the Kings in five games last season. The Kings are riding high after defeating the number 1 seed Anaheim Ducks in seven games.
With the Kings coming in on a hot streak and players like Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, and Marian Gaborik playing well. The Blackhawks have three players raise their game in this series for the Blackhawks to win.
Those players are:
- Patrick Sharp: Patrick Sharp had one of his best regular seasons this year. He scored 34 goals and had 44 assists; however, his regular season success has not translated to the playoffs. Sharp only has 2 goals and 4 assists these playoffs. The Blackhawks need more production from Sharp.
- Kris Versteeg: Versteeg has fallen on hard times these playoffs. He struggled so much during the Blues series that he was benched in favor of Joakim Nordstrom. Versteeg did stay the course and played himself back into the lineup against the Wild. Versteeg scored the first goal of Game 6 against the Wild. Versteeg needs to continue to roll.
- Nick Leddy: Leddy has once again found himself in the Coach Quenneville dog house this season. Leddy was a healthy scratch in Game 4 of the Wild Series. Leddy was given another crack at the lineup. The Blackhawks need Leddy to be a dangerous puck moving defenseman on the third defensive pairing.
The Blackhawk need these three players for their chances to improve against the Kings. The Blackhawks vs. the Kings series kicks off Sunday May 18th at 2pm on NBC.
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