Chicago Blackhawks: Los Angeles Kings

By the numbers: Hawks-Kings, Game 1

May, 19, 2014
May 19
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Here's a look by the numbers at the Chicago Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals:

• Kings forward Anze Kopitar was held without a point for the second time in 15 playoff games this season. Blackhawks forwards Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa and defensemen Niklas Hjlamarsson and Johnny Oduya were all on the ice with Kopitar for 10-plus minutes, according to

• Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 25-of-26 shots. He has 260 saves on 272 shots for a .956 save percentage in the Blackhawks' nine playoff wins this season.

• Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick allowed three goals on 20 shots. He's allowed 28 total goals in the Kings' seven playoff losses and 11 total goals in their eight wins.

• Kings defenseman Drew Doughty played a game-high 26:20. He's averaging 27:20 in the playoffs.

• Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook had a team-high 23:33 of ice time. It was the second time in the playoffs Duncan Keith didn't lead the Blackhawks in ice time.

• Hjalmarsson had four blocked shots and leads the NHL with 42 in the playoffs. He's averaging 3.2 blocks a game.

• The Blackhawks won their seventh consecutive home playoff game this season. They have an eight-game home winning streak dating back to last season and have a 18-2 record at home in the playoffs in the past two seasons.

• The Blackhawks killed off both of the Kings' power plays. The Blackhawks have killed off 44-of-48 power plays for a league-best 91.7 percentage in the playoffs.

• The Blackhawks scored on 1-of-2 power plays. They have scored a power-play goal and had a perfect penalty kill in five playoff games this season.

• The Blackhawks had three players with a Corsi better than 50 percent, according to Bryan Bickell led the Blackhawks with a 60 Corsi percentage (the Blackhawks had 15 shots for and 10 against with him on the ice in 5-on-5 situations). Toews (54.8 Corsi) and Johnny Oduya (54.8) were the two other players. Keith (30.8), Michal Handzus (31.6) and Patrick Sharp (31.8) had the lowest percentages.

• The Kings had 14 players with a Corsi better than 50 percent. Jeff Schultz led all players with a 81.5 Corsi percentage (22 shots for, five against). Jake Muzzin had a team-low 41.9 Corsi percentage.

• Kings forward Jeff Carter had a game-high six shots on net. Toews and Hossa each had a team-high three shots on net.

• The Kings outshot the Blackhawks 17-6 on net in the second period. The Blackhawks outshot the Kings 14-9 in the two other periods. The Blackhawks were outshot 73-51 in the second period and 90-87 in the first and second periods combined against the Minnesota Wild in the second round.

• Hossa had two assists. He has 11 points in the last seven games and 13 points in the playoffs.

• The Blackhawks and Kings split the game's 62 faceoffs equally. Jarret Stoll (10-of-13) and Mike Richards (10-of-19) led the Kings in faceoffs, and Toews (11-of-18) and Michal Handzus (12-of-20) led the Blackhawks.

• The Blackhawks' fourth line of Brandon Bollig, Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith didn't have an offensive zone start. Kings forward Marian Gaborik and Kopitar each had a game-high nine offensive starts.

Power play still an issue for Blackhawks

July, 29, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
Joel QuennevilleJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesAn improved Blackhawks' power play would go a long way in helping coach Joel Quenneville hoist the Stanley Cup again next summer.
CHICAGO -- Winning the Stanley Cup eased the type of questions the Chicago Blackhawks front office and coaching staff faced at the team's fan convention, but they still couldn't avoid having to answer once again about a power play that has now struggled for two consecutive seasons.

The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last season despite being one of the NHL's most ineffective power-play teams. They ranked 19th in the NHL with a 16.7 power-play percentage in the regular season and 13th in the playoffs with an 11.4 percentage. In the 2011-12 season, they were tied for 25th in the regular season with a 15.2 power-play percentage and were 16th in the playoffs at 5.3 percent.

Last season's Blackhawks and the 2010-11 Boston Bruins have proven you can win a Stanley Cup without a successful power play. But it's still an area the Blackhawks hope to improve next season.

"Special teams is always important," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said on a panel during the convention. "I think we had a great penalty kill last year really from beginning to end. I think our power play is the one area where we had spurts where it was very successful. I think we'd like to get that like the penalty kill, to have that to be a dominant force."

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Breaking down the Hawks' 2013-14 schedule

July, 19, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
The Chicago Blackhawks released their 2013-2014 schedule on Friday. Here's what you need to know:

• The Blackhawks' home opener and Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony will be against the Washington Capitals on Oct. 1. The Blackhawks lost their home opener in the 2010-2011 season to the Detroit Red Wings after winning the Stanley Cup the previous season. Four of the past five Stanley Cup champions have lost their home opener the following season. Just last season, the Blackhawks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 in the Kings' season opener after they won the Stanley Cup.

• With the Red Wings moving to the Eastern Conference this season, the Blackhawks will now face them just twice in the regular season. They'll play in Detroit on Jan. 22 and in Chicago on March 16. They will also play two preseason games.

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Hawks ready for another demanding Game 3

June, 16, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
BOSTON -- The Chicago Blackhawks have excelled in Game 1 in all four rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

They’ve taken care of business in Game 5 in the first, second and third rounds.

Where the Blackhawks have run into a roadblock throughout the playoffs has been in Game 3.

The Blackhawks lost in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals to the Minnesota Wild, in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals to the Detroit Red Wings and in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals to the Los Angeles Kings.

And now, the Blackhawks encounter a Game 3 with the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals on Monday. The Blackhawks and Bruins are tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven series.

This time, the Blackhawks hope to prevail in Game 3.

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Duncan Keith goes and goes and goes

June, 16, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
BOSTON -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya wanted to be clear that he wasn’t knocking fellow defenseman Duncan Keith's training.

He knows Keith puts in serious endurance work before and during a season. But when it comes to Keith’s ability to log major minutes and remain playing at a consistently elite level, Oduya believes that has to do with more than just how many sprints or miles a player can compile in the offseason.

Oduya’s hypothesis: Keith is just one of those rare athletes.

“I would say genetics,” Oduya said after a recent practice. “I think he has superior genetics. He’s obviously a hard-working guy. I’m not taking that away from him. He has something where he’s explosive and still he can go on forever. He, like, never stops.”

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Why the low-wattage playoff power plays?

June, 14, 2013
LeBrun By Pierre LeBrun

CHICAGO -- Who took the "power" out of power play?

The man advantage sure hasn't lived up to its name the past few years, at least when it comes to having an impact for championship teams.

The past two Stanley Cup winners, the Boston Bruins in 2011 and Los Angeles Kings in 2012, struggled on the power play, but it didn't at all prevent them from winning it all.

And regardless of whether the Bruins or the Chicago Blackhawks win this season, it sure won't be because of their power play.

So what gives?

"I really think the penalty-killing units have improved a lot," star Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, a key cog on both the penalty kill and power play, said in French on Thursday. "And honestly, I just think there's less room out there. I also think it's more than just one thing, there's a number of reasons why it's happened.

"But in the playoffs, the focus is really on defense. It's a cliché, but teams that win championships know how to play defensively and teams continue to improve in that area."

To wit:

The Bruins right now are at a 16.7 percent success rate (8-for-48), ninth best out of the 16 playoff teams; the Hawks have struggled even more, going 7-for-54 (13 percent).

It just follows the recent trend. That 2011 Bruins team was a woeful 11.4 percent (10-for-88), while last year's Kings checked in at 12.8 percent (12-for-94), 14th among playoff teams.

"But you know what? In the deciding game last year we scored three goals on it, so believe me it can still score big goals for you at important times," Kings head coach Darryl Sutter told over the phone Thursday. "But there's a few things. One, fewer penalties called in the playoffs so therefore fewer chances.

"The other thing is, you practice the power play so much during the regular season, and then you get to the playoffs and your top players need some time off between games, so you don't practice the power play quite as much. That's a factor."

By not practicing it as much, perhaps the power play gets out of rhythm. What matters the most, though, is that the Kings last year still won the special-teams battle when it mattered most, just as Boston did against Vancouver in 2011.

It's not how many power-play goals you score, it’s whether you score more than the other team.

The numbers don’t tell the whole story, either. Some power plays still generate momentum even if there’s no goal scored, as long as the team threatened on them. Players can feed off that when 5-on-5 play resumes.

[+] EnlargePatrice Bergeron
Brian Babineau/Getty ImagesPatrice Bergeron has some ideas, shared by others, about why power-play production is down during the postseason.
"Yes, you talk a lot about that as a team, just making sure you get as many good looks as possible so that it carries over,” said Sutter. "We almost talk more about that than actually scoring."

On the flip side, a power play that doesn't generate anything at all, sort of like what Chicago has struggled with recently, can deflate a team for a few shifts.

Ray Ferraro made his living on the power play during his NHL playing career, and the TSN analyst said the concern is that if you go too long struggling on the man advantage it may affect you mentally.

"You have to be careful not to let an ineffective power play seep into the rest of your game and frustrate you," Ferraro said Thursday.

And for the Hawks, that’s the danger right now if they let their power-play woes continue. Their 5-on-3 power play in Game 1 versus Boston was as bad as we've seen in a while in that situation. No creativity, the players way too stationary.

"Our power play in the last series and last night hasn't shown the production that's needed or is going to be necessary going forward," Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said Thursday. "We're still going to have to rely on it at some point to ignite us. That's what we're talking about.

"We're disappointed with the 5-on-3 last night. Want to make sure you don't lose the momentum of the game."

When you have a lineup that boasts the likes of Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith, not being able to score on the power play is a real head-scratcher.

"I know in 2010, we had a great power play, it was huge to helping us win," Kane said Thursday. "We've had stretches throughout the postseason where we've moved it around pretty well. Sometimes you just can't find the back of the net. I think maybe another reason is it seems power plays are down throughout the year and in the postseason for whatever reason. When you do get the man advantage, you're not in a complete rhythm when you get out there.

"For whatever reason, the past two teams to win, even us and Boston this year, haven't had great power plays. It's something we want to improve and feel we can help our game even more if we can keep it going."

Quenneville is in the same frame of mind as Bergeron. Give credit where credit is due, said the Hawks coach.

"I don't know if it's the power plays that are struggling or the penalty killing has been more effective or efficient," Quenneville said. "You look at teams, Boston when they won it, their penalty killing was outstanding. Special teams are always critical. I think they can make the difference."

Indeed, another trend linking the 2011 Bruins, 2012 Kings and both Boston and Chicago clubs this year is an excellent penalty kill.

  • The Hawks are first in the playoffs at a remarkable 93.4 percent rate, having killed 57 of 61 power plays
  • The Bruins are fifth at 87.3 percent, killing 48 of 55 PPs
  • The 2012 Kings tied for tops in the playoffs at 92.1 percent, killing 70 of 76 PPs
  • The 2011 Bruins were at 84.4 percent, killing 81 of 96 power plays, but noticeably improved in that area as the playoffs went along, famously capping their year by shutting down a loaded Vancouver power play in the Cup finals.

I vividly recall a conversation with Ken Hitchcock before last season’s playoffs in which the St. Louis Blues head coach made the point that he has always believed the power play was overrated in terms of its impact on postseason games. Hitchcock felt 5-on-5 and the penalty kill were what really mattered.

The rest of the coaching fraternity is clearly on the same page.

When I asked Bruins coach Claude Julien about this topic Thursday at his off-day news conference, he sounded like a man capable of teaching a university class on the subject.

"I think if you look at teams sometimes that have great power-play percentages in the playoffs, they get them early in the playoffs," began Julien. "But as the playoffs move on, you do so much homework on the other team's power play. Like for us, we could go back three rounds, looking at Chicago's power play, and vice versa. Plus, the more you play them, the more you make adjustments as you go on.

"I think it's a normal trend, has absolutely nothing to do with the team not being able to score more than the penalty kill doing a great job," he continued. "When you see guys like [injured center Gregory] Campbell throwing himself in front of a shot
like he did, you're seeing guys go above and beyond what they do in the regular season to prevent a goal.

"To me, it's a normal thing. Even when we played Vancouver, they had such a good power play. By the time they got to the final, they couldn't score either. Yeah, you give your team credit. But also the fact that you've been able to scout them and play them, and just as the game goes on is another thing. To me, I've always been one of those proponents, that more often your 5-on-5 play is what is going to decide a game.

"When you play 50 minutes or so 5-on-5, that should be more of a determining factor than six minutes on a power play," Julien concluded.

Amen to that.

Blackhawks: We're not the Penguins

June, 10, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks don't see themselves as the Western Conference's Pittsburgh Penguins.

While there may be some similarities between the two teams, the Blackhawks said Monday they believe they're a better defensive team than the Penguins and don't plan on allowing the Boston Bruins the same offensive chances as the Penguins gave them during the Eastern Conference finals.

The Bruins outscored the Penguins 12-2, including 6-1 in Game 2, and won the conference finals series in four games.

(Read full post)

Quenneville finds perfect mix of lines

June, 9, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
Marian Hossa, Patrick SharpAP Photo/Chris CarlsonMarian Hossa, right, celebrates his goal with Patrick Sharp during the third period of Game 4.
CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has mixed and matched Bryan Bickell, Michal Handzus, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews on two lines throughout the playoffs.

During Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Kings, Quenneville made a decision, with his team struggling offensively, to put together a line of Bickell, Toews and Kane and another with Sharp, Handzus and Hossa.

Success has followed.

Each line created a goal in their Game 4 win, with Bickell assisting on a Kane goal to tie the game in the second period and Handzus setting up Hossa for the game winner.

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Adversity now old hat for Blackhawks

June, 9, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks felt they hadn’t experienced any true adversity in their season prior to the playoffs.

A lot has changed since then.

Three playoff series later, the Blackhawks feel like a battle-tested group that can now face any challenge and get through it.

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Blackhawks roll right into a finals berth

June, 9, 2013
LeBrun By Pierre LeBrun

CHICAGO -- The 2012 Cup champs are off the checklist.

Now for those 2011 Cup champs, so bring on the Boston Bruins.

The Chicago Blackhawks booked their ticket to an Original Six Stanley Cup finals Saturday night with a dramatic end to a Western Conference finals that nearly needed a few extra days.

But Patrick Kane avoided subjecting his team to a long plane ride back to Los Angeles for Game 6 when he rifled a one-timer off an all-world pass from Jonathan Toews past Jonathan Quick, Kane's hat trick goal 11:40 into double overtime nearly bringing down the Madhouse on Madison in a 4-3 win.

"You know what, big two wins the last couple games, especially tonight, after they came back and tied it up with nine seconds left," Kane said. "For us to hang in there in the first overtime and pull it out in the second overtime was huge. We definitely didn't want to go back to L.A. Just a huge win to get us to the final."

The Bruins and Blackhawks open the Stanley Cup finals with Game 1 here Wednesday, the winner of the series being able to claim almost a mini-dynasty in the salary-cap era.

"It's exciting," Blackhawks winner Patrick Sharp, a holdover from the 2010 Cup champion Hawks, said. "For a couple years, it was tough just getting out [of] that first round. I've been watching Boston play in the East; they look like they're rolling. Another tough series ahead of us, but it's an exciting time."

First, though, the Hawks had to get there, and the defending champs from L.A. on Saturday night left it all on the ice in trying to force Game 6.

After Duncan Keith and Kane had scored to give Chicago an early 2-0 lead, the Kings were under siege, and it looked liked it might end up a blowout. But goals from Dwight King, short-handed, in the second period and a power-play marker by Anze Kopitar early in the third period tied the game 2-2.

When Kane went upstairs on Quick with 3:52 left in the third, it appeared the Hawks had booked their ticket. The party was on.

Ah, but the defending champs weren’t done just yet.

Mike Richards, back after missing a week with a concussion, tied it with 10 seconds remaining, sending gasps through the United Center crowd.

"Man, nine seconds left and they score," Hawks goalie Corey Crawford said. "We've been through so much so far in the playoffs, and we've been able to play our game after something like that happens. That was just another step for us."

The Kings dominated the first overtime session but couldn’t finish, which allowed the Hawks to regroup for double OT.

Toews and Kane broke in on a 2-on-1 break -- the Kings' nemesis all series long was giving up too many odd-man rushes and turning the puck over way too many times -- the Hawks captain waited for just the right time to send the puck across to Kane for the winner.

Some Kings players bent over in agony, crushed by the heartbreak of the moment.

"We wanted to keep playing," Kings center Jarret Stoll said. "We wanted to play until the end of June, and that was our goal, that was our mindset. We just didn’t have it against these guys. They’re a great team. [I] Wish them all the best. They’ve got a lot of great players, and they play their system and they’re well coached. We just couldn’t find a way to win a road game … I was just disappointed. You can’t be happy with losing. You never are, whether it’s Western Conference finals or Stanley Cup finals or not even making the playoffs. It’s that same empty feeling.”

Back in the Cup finals for the second time in three seasons, the Blackhawks are on a roll, winning seven of their past eight games.

"We've had an interesting playoffs," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I think as we progressed here, [we] had an ordinary start in the first series, on the ropes [down 3-1] against Detroit. I thought we've gotten better as we've gone along in these playoffs. You look back over several games of your career; that was a game you'll always remember tonight. That was an amazing hockey game. Give L.A. credit. You go up a goal late in the game. The guys, commend them, staying positive, persevering. L.A. might have played their best in overtime this series. Finding a way was exactly what we were looking for."

The 2010 champs versus the 2011 champs. Two Original Six franchises. Two great hockey markets.

Can it get any better?

"It's a special couple places. The tradition of the Bruins and the Hawks is special," Quenneville said. "I'm sure, you know, the rivalry could return instantly come Game 1.

"I think it's good for the league. It's good for hockey. Two great hockey markets. We're very excited to be a part of it."

Defending champs went down swinging

June, 9, 2013
LeBrun By Pierre LeBrun

CHICAGO -- Inside what is always a somber dressing room when the clock strikes midnight on a team’s season, GM Dean Lombardi grabbed Jarret Stoll and hugged him tightly.

Not sure what he told him in his right ear, but I suspect it would be along the lines that Stoll, like the rest of his teammates, left it all on the ice Saturday night in a gutsy performance by the banged-up Los Angeles Kings.

After their 4-3 double-overtime loss to the Blackhawks, the champs are out, but they went down swinging.

"To be quite frank, this one hurt," said veteran Kings blueliner Rob Scuderi, one of those championship warriors. "I though we outplayed them tonight. They had an unbelievable start, nobody can deny that, but for the rest of the night we gave ourselves a chance to win even with, I’ll call it adversity, that we kind of had to face tonight. But we’re a strong group, we played hard, played for each other and gave ourselves a chance. In the end, it wasn’t meant to be."

Lombardi was too emotional to size up his team’s season when approached by, but he did mention that he felt even in this incredibly hard-to-digest defeat, his team might actually learn as much if not more from this year’s playoffs than from winning it all last season.

Last year, the Kings skated swimmingly through the playoffs with a 16-4 record, holding 3-0 leads in each series. This year the injuries piled up, the road record stunk (1-8), some of the top players weren’t as dynamic and the journey had a heartbreaking ending.

"Once you win a Stanley Cup, it means a lot more getting knocked out," said Kings captain Dustin Brown. "You don’t really know what you play for until you do it. And tonight ... sucks."

Brown was one of several Kings who labored through pain, revealing when asked afterward that he tore the posterior cruciate ligament in the back of his left knee on his first shift of Game 6 against San Jose. Justin Williams said he played with a slightly separated shoulder after Sharks blueliner Brad Stuart rocked him with a big hit in Game 3 last round. Drew Dougthy (ankle) was also a little hobbled, Mike Richards, of course, recovered from a concussion in time to play Saturday night while Stoll told not only was he concussed last round after the hit from Raffi Torres but he also separated his shoulder on the play. And we’re missing a few guys.

"Three, four guys that were game-time [decisions] after Game 6 in San Jose," said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. "I think most teams are going to say that, the farther you go. Also tells you how tough it is to win, how you need that. I know it's something that gets talked lots about. You have to stay healthy. Have you to be close to 100 percent, especially with your top guys. I know we weren't."

Which tells you how this team gutted it out despite all that, especially Saturday night when the Blackhawks went up 2-0 and it looked as if they would run the Kings right out of the rink.

"There's not much you can do about giving up bad goals," said Sutter. "If you put your head between your legs, you're going to get your [butt] kicked. We don't do that. We respond in the right way all the time."

All playoffs when knocked down, the Kings have picked themselves off the mat. And they did again Saturday night, climbing from a 2-0 hole and also tying the game with 10 seconds left in regulation.

"We showed a lot of character tonight," Kings executive Luc Robitaille told outside his team’s dressing room. "The game was over with 15 seconds left. If you want to have a great organization, you want your best players to be at their best in the big moments. They were there tonight."

What was the difference in the series?

"Turnovers, some rush chances and opportunities," said Stoll. "Again tonight, the 2-on-1 and the rush chance in overtime. We didn’t really establish our forecheck like we wanted in some games, and it hurt us."

Indeed, Patrick Kane’s overtime goal was a perfect microcosm of the series for the Kings, who simply turned the puck over and gave up too many odd-man breaks in the five games. That’s not typical Kings hockey.

All the Kings felt Saturday night was heartbreak, but in time they will realize that they defended their Cup championship with honor, a conference finals berth nothing to sneeze at when you consider the struggles of past defending Cup champions in the salary-cap era. No team has won back-to-back titles since the 1997 and 1998 Red Wings, and there’s a reason for that. It’s mighty difficult, both from a physical and mental point of view.

The Kings had a terrific season.

"It’s disappointing now, probably we’ll look back in a few weeks now and think that," said Robitaille. "But right now when you’re this close, you want to go all the way. Because we know how special that is. But the guys certainly showed a lot in these playoffs. It wasn’t easy. Last year was abnormal that we [went up] 3-0 every [series]. But they showed a lot of character."

As far as Sutter is concerned, there's nothing to be disappointed about in terms of the team’s effort this season.

"We got beat in the conference finals by the best team in the conference, at the end of the day,” said Sutter. "...Once you set the bar up there, then that's your bar. So, obviously, we're disappointed to lose to Chicago, but we're certainly not disappointed in how we played. I mean, I think you look at our season, other than not getting home ice, we've done everything we've wanted."

Not quite everything because they know all too well what that feels like, but you have a feeling these guys will be back again.

Hossa knows when to score big goals

June, 7, 2013
By ESPN Stats & Information
Western Conference Finals - Game 4
Blackhawks 3, Kings 2 (Blackhawks lead series, 3-1)

The defending Stanley Cup champion Kings are one game away from elimination. Marian Hossa scored the go-ahead goal 1:10 into the 3rd period and Patrick Kane snapped a streak of 7 games without a goal as the Blackhawks won Game 4 in Los Angeles 3-2.

* Blackhawks: 6-1 in last 7 games after trailing 3-1 vs Red Wings in Conference Semifinals
* Marian Hossa (CHI): go-ahead goal 1:10 into 3rd period (7)
* Patrick Kane (CHI): game-tying goal in 2nd period (3 - snaps streak of 7 games without a goal)
* Bryan Bickell (CHI): goal in 1st period (8 - had 7 career playoff POINTS entering 2013 postseason), also had assist
* Kings: 1st loss at home in 2013 playoffs (8-1); 1st loss at home in ANY game (regular season & playoffs) since March 23 vs Canucks (had won previous 15 home games)
* Slava Voynov (LA): goal in 1st period (6 - matches his regular season goal total
FROM ELIAS: Marian Hossa’s goal 70 seconds into the third period broke a 2-2 tie and sent the Blackhawks on their way to a 3-2 win over the Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. Hossa has scored seven goals in this year’s playoffs and a league-high six of them have given his team a lead. (His other tally was a score-tying goal.) Go-ahead goals in the playoffs have been the norm in Hossa’s career, with 22 of his 43 postseason goals having put his team in the lead. Hossa’s percentage of go-ahead goals in the playoffs (51.2%) is the highest among active players with 40 or more postseason goals and the fourth-highest in NHL history (using the same minimum). The top three players in that regard are Stephane Richer (54.7%), Dale Hunter (52.4%) and Mike Modano (51.7%).

Blackhawks expect fight to close out Kings

June, 7, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers

CHICAGO -- No team is more up to date on what it's like to be down 3-1 in a series and still cling to the hope of rallying back than the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks went through that a round ago and fought back from a 3-1 deficit to knock off the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference semifinals.

It's with that recent experience the Blackhawks said Friday that they understand how dangerous the Los Angeles Kings still can be despite the Blackhawks' holding a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference finals. The Blackhawks will have a chance to close out the Kings in Game 5 at the United Center on Saturday.

"We were on the other end of this, so we know what they're thinking," Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya said at Signature Flight Support on Friday. "We know this is not over. This is a really, really good team. We know we said it last night, too; we don't want to go back to L.A. That's a tough place to play and win games. Once again, we have to bring our best performance and best effort to win a game."

(Read full post)

Bickell continues to soar in playoffs

June, 7, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers

LOS ANGELES -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville once believed forward Bryan Bickell flew under the radar.

These days, Bickell's presence may break the radar.

Bickell added to his ever-expanding 2013 playoff highlight reel with another goal and assist in the Blackhawks' 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday. He now has eight goals and three assists in 16 playoff games.

"I think he's one of those guys that you really appreciate all year long," Quenneville said. "He's one of those guys that maybe flies under the radar. He's got all the assets that could make him a top forward power-wise. He can hit, skate, shoot, he sees plays and is big at the net, physical. All the ingredients you want put together. That process, he'd like to see it come together game in, game out. Probably this playoff round, it seems like he's really progressed."

(Read full post)

Hawks' Kane breaks through in Game 4

June, 7, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
Patrick KaneHarry How/Getty ImagesPatrick Kane scored his first goal of the West finals, tying Game 4 at 2-2 in the second period.
LOS ANGELES -- Desperate goal scorers sometimes take desperate actions, and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane was proof of that Thursday.

Kane was goalless in the first three games against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference finals and hadn't scored since Game 3 of the Hawks' seven-game series against the Detroit Red Wings in the conference semifinals. His eight-game scoring drought was the longest of his season.

So when Kane saw the puck squirt past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick during the second period of Game 4 on Thursday, Kane didn't wait to see whether the puck would travel alone into the net. He surged to the puck and gave it a helping hand with the touch of his stick.

Kane realized later that he had stolen teammate Bryan Bickell's goal and even apologized to his teammate, but neither cared too much. Both were just happy to have Kane back on the board and have a 3-2 win and a 3-1 series lead on the Kings.

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Patrick Sharp
78 34 44 13
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26