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Top Chicago Blackhawks Playoff Wins: Head To Head

By Colin Likas

In a somewhat-recent post on Blackhawk Up, I mentioned that Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford might have a personal rivalry with the Los Angeles Kings. We’re going to get one reminder as to how that came about with the next entry on our top playoff wins list.

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The Blackhawks and Kings had what could, at the least, be described as a hell of a playoff series in 2014. Chicago won the first game, and Los Angeles responded with three consecutive victories, including one at the United Center. Of course, the Blackhawks weren’t about to roll over for the future 2014 Stanley Cup champions and took Game 5 at home.

So it was back to Game 6 in L.A., where we get our next entry on the countdown of most memorable playoff wins under coach Joel Quenneville.

Note: Check out the previous entries in this series at the end of this post.

No. 20: 2014 Western Conference finals, Game 6

Chicago Blackhawks 4, Los Angeles Kings 3

Chicago manged to squeak out a 5-4 overtime victory in Game 5, and the heavy scoring would return for Game 6, with neither Crawford nor Jonathan Quick posting a save percentage at or above .900. The Blackhawks came out flying in this one, with Bryan Bickell‘s offensive-zone forecheck creating a chance for Marian Hossa within the game’s first minute.

Jeff Carter, who had 10 points in five games coming into this one, created the first great Kings chance by throwing the puck to the front of the net from behind Crawford. It sat in the crease as bodies and sticks flew in either to push the puck into the net or clear it out, and eventually those doing the latter won out.

Los Angeles used its own forechecking abilities to create some Chicago turnovers in the latter’s zone, putting Crawford and the Blackhawks in danger. But Crow was up to the task, until the Kings used a simple play to create their first goal late in the opening period.

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Justin Williams dumped the puck in along the boards with less than four minutes to go, and Jarret Stoll beat Brent Seabrook to the puck behind Crawford. Stoll made a perfect pass out in front to Dwight King, who had all day and managed to beat Crow with a shot, putting L.A. on the board first.

Anze Kopitar gave the Blackhawks a chance to respond by committing a penalty 20 seconds into the second period. Chicago was firing from all over the ice on its man-advantage and eventually broke through. Duncan Keith did a nice job holding the puck in the zone and found Patrick Kane above the circles. He moved it down low to Jonathan Toews, who saw Kane gliding toward the net ahead of his Kings defender. Toews sent a pass through heavy traffic, and Kane beat Quick with the ensuing shot. After a bit of a scrum, the Blackhawks celebrated tying the contest.

Not even two minutes later, the Blackhawks were at it again as Drew Doughty got stuck behind the play for Los Angeles. Patrick Sharp brought the puck into the offensive zone and sent it cross-ice to an unguarded Ben Smith. Knowing he was in too close and seeing Quick coming out of his crease for a poke check attempt, Smith deftly avoided Quick’s check, carried the puck a little further and banked it off Quick’s skate and into the net for a hilarious goal and a 2-1 Chicago lead.

It’s like a video game, complete with a pouty guy playing goaltender. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Dustin Brown had an excellent chance for the Kings about five minutes later but had it snuffed out by Crawford, who may have lost the puck briefly but wound up sitting on it to end the play. Crow would need to make two big saves on Carter and Tyler Toffoli a short time later when the Blackhawks turned the puck over in their own zone, leaving just Michal Rozsival and Crawford to defend against the two forwards. Luckily for the Blackhawks, Crow stood tall.

Speaking of standing tall, we’ve now gotten to the truly memorable part of this game. At the horn for the second intermission, this happened:

Crawford was not pleased with something Quick did during the second period and decided to confront him about it. The goaltenders butted heads, and Crawford shook his glove as if asking for a fight, though it was likely in jest. Quick seemed legitimately unhappy, probably because he was losing at the time. For it’s an imagine ingrained in our memories: Crawford and Quick bumping heads at center ice during one of the best playoff series in recent memory. An instant classic.

And this was before what turned out to be a wild 20 minutes even began.

It wouldn’t start on a high note for the Blackhawks, as Brown carried the puck from behind the net to the blue line about 5:30 into the third. He attempted a pass to the circle to Crawford’s left, but the puck deflected off a Blackhawks player back to Doughty near the blue line. He skated it in slightly and wired a shot high over Crawford’s left shoulder, tying the game at two.

Things would get even worse when Toews was put in the penalty box shortly after Doughty’s goal. Near the conclusion of Los Angeles’ man-advantage, Doughty had the puck at the blue line and carried it across the ice, with Hossa trailing him the entire way. He then threw a backhand pass to an unguarded Alec Martinez, who settled the puck above the circles and beat Crow with a wrist shot through traffic. Staples Center was up for grabs, as the Kings grabbed a 3-2 lead and appeared on their way to the Stanley Cup Final.

And they were. Just not on this day.

With less than nine minutes to go in regulation, Kane pulled a similar maneuver to what Doughty did on Martinez’s goal, with Kane feeding Keith on the backhand above the circles. Keith, like his opposing defenseman Martinez, took his time and beat the goaltender with a wrister, tying this crazy affair at three.

And so, Kane did his Kane things with less than four minutes to go, making sure no overtime would be required in this one.

They’ve got him covered … or do they? (Screenshot from YouTube)

Brandon Saad, who it’s important to note gave Kane the puck to begin the previous scoring play, dropped the puck to Kane along the boards while entering the offensive zone. Kane took it to where you see him in the above photo and looked for a lane. He found none, so he skated back toward the blue line.

The collective blood pressure of Los Angeles is rising. (Screenshot from YouTube)

And then he let a shot go from above the circles into heavy traffic in front of Quick.

Cycle complete. (Screenshot from YouTube)

That was all the Blackhawks needed to go back in front for good, as Kane’s shot beat everyone and hit the twine to push Chicago ahead late.

The Kings created some tense moments in the final 2o seconds, but the Blackhawks walked out of Staples Center with their only road win of the series and forced a seventh game. Unfortunately, we won’t talk about that one in this countdown, but we can certainly talk all day about the Crawford headbutt.

Previous entries

No. 21 | No. 22 | No. 23 | No. 24 | No. 25 | No. 26 | No. 27 | No. 28 | No. 29 | No. 30 | No. 31 | No. 32 | No. 33 | No. 34 | No. 35 | No. 36 | No. 37 | No. 38 | No. 39 | No. 40 | No. 41 | No. 42 | No. 43 | No. 44 | No. 45 | No. 46 | No. 47 | No. 48 | No. 49 | No. 50 | No. 51 | No. 52 | No. 53 | No. 54 | No. 55 | No. 56 | No. 57 | No. 58 | No. 59 | No. 60 | No. 61 | No. 62 | No. 63 | No. 64 | No. 65 | No. 66 | No. 67 | No. 68 | No. 69 | No. 70 | No. 71 | No. 72 | No. 73

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