May 24, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) moves the puck against the Los Angeles Kings in game three of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Blackhawks were beaten again by the La Kings in Game 3 of Western Conference Final. The final score was 4-3 but the Blackhawks third goal game with less than three seconds remaining in regulation. Despite having the ability to score two goals in 17 seconds, the Blackhawks were not able to score one goal in three seconds. Despite the loss, there might have been a positive at the end of the game.
The Blackhawks final goal was scored on a tip in from Patrick Sharp. Sharp had not been playing well until Game 3. The announcers made a point of stating that Sharp was assertive with his game and fired the puck at the net. Sharp had been dejected in Game 2 and had not played well. The Blackhawks are really hoping that goal jump starts Sharp. Sharp has struggled these playoffs. The tip in goal was Sharp’s third goal of the playoffs and only seventh point. Last Stanley Cup playoffs, Sharp lead all players with ten goals and six assists.
Aside from Jonathon Toews who has three goals in this series, the Blackhawks have not been getting any type of production from their other lines. Patrick Kane has turned into the invisible man with ZERO points in three games. Kane’s decline could be due to the fact that Michal Handzus is centering his line but that is another issue for another time. The Blackhawks beat teams with their speed and their depth. When their stars are being neutralized their depth can overwhelm the other team’s depth. That has not been the case in this series.
The Sharp goal also showed the Blackhawks a way to score a bushel of goals against Jonathan Quick in Game 4. It’s simple: the Blackhawks need to get people to the net. Sharp was in front of the net to deflect the puck. The Blackhawks need shots from the point and people in front of the net to deflect them in. They need players like Bryan Bickell, Andrew Shaw, and Sharp to crash the net hard and get the tip in goal.
They have the formula to beat the Kings and Quick. We just need players like Sharp, Bickell, and others to execute it.
The Blackhawks will take on La Kings in Game 4 at 8pm central time on Monday May 26th.
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