May 28, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) carries the puck away from Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23) during the first period in game five of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Hopefully your nerves got a nice, restful day off.
Because they are about to be put through the wringer once again.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings went toe-to-toe in the most dramatic Game 5 you’ll ever see, in any sport. They are bout to do it again tonight. This time, you can guarantee the dramatics might be even kicked up a knotch due to what this Game 6 very well could mean.
If the Hawks win, they will tie the series, and steal the momentum just as the series heads back to Chicago for Game 7. This would make the series all but won by the Hawks. If the Kings win, the series is over, the Hawks season is done, and the Kings will prepare to face the New York Rangers, in the Stanley Cup Finals. This is a big one.
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Statistically the Kings have been the better team throughout the playoffs, as well as this series. The Hawks haven’t exactly been slouches though. They scored a Power Play goal, in Game 5, so hopefully that jump-starts the on and off man-advantage, for Chicago. The Kings Power Play had been extremely dangerous and effective all series long, but in Game 5, each of their Power Plays were killed, by the Hawks. If this keeps trending in this direction it could be a series changer. Faceoff wins have proved to be very important. The Kings dominated the dot, in the previous games in Los Angeles during this series. The Hawks will have to change that tonight, if they want to stay alive.
The Kings will have to prove their mental toughness, once again, especially after such a long, hard fought let down of a loss in Game 5. A game in which they had every right to win. The top-line of the Kings finally started to produce offensively as Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik, and Dustin Brown collected 2 goals, in Game 5, after being virtually neutralized this series. Drew Doughty has had a series for the ages, but that’s not much of a surprise. Although Doughty took an early penalty that resulted in a goal, in Game 5, he more than made up for it the rest of the game. “That 70s line” consisting of Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, and Tanner Pearson dominated during Games 3 and 4, in Los Angeles and will continue to ones to watch.
In net will be Jonathan Quick, for the Kings. Quick had a rough Game 5 and hasn’t had a great series, but he has had his moments and made some big saves. If he’s off too much, tonight, there will be a Game 6.
The Hawks have to be feeling great after the Game 5 win, but they have work to do. Clearing pucks and bodies, near their crease that result in second chances and likely goals, has been a huge issue, during this series. Brent Seabrook is normally great at this, but he’s been off in this department. The top-line of Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Bryan Bickell had a good Game 5, even if they don’t have the numbers to prove it. Brandon Saad had the best game of his life with some help from his linemates, Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw. It is likely that Peter Regin will be playing tonight, in place of Kris Versteeg. It is important that Coach Q is able to roll 4 lines, especially after the long, torturous Game 5.
In net will be Corey Crawford, for the Hawks. Crawford has had a rough series and even a rough Game 5 save for the fact that he stopped 6 of 6 shots, on the Penalty Kill.
Game 6 may end up deciding this series. If the Kings win, it will literally decide the series. If the Hawks win it will figuratively decide the series, but not literally. With a possible Game 7 in Chicago and momentum on their side after a big win in Game 5 and possibly/hopefully a big win in Game 6, it’s hard to picture the Kings mentally recovering. We aren’t there yet, though. One game at a time, and Game 6 will be as difficult of a game as the Hawks have ever played.
Just get it done