Monday, May 26, 2014
W2W4: Blackhawks vs. Kings (Game 4)
By Scott Powers
LOS ANGELES -- The Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings face off in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals at the Staples Center on Monday. The Kings lead the series 2-1. Here's what to watch for:
The Kings hold home-ice advantage over the Blackhawks. The Kings improved to 4-3 at home in the playoffs with a 4-3 win over the Blackhawks in Game 3 on Saturday. The Kings have won the last two games in the series.
Special teams was a factor in the Kings’ last two victories. After the Blackhawks had allowed four power-play goals in their first 13 playoff games, the Kings scored two power-play goals in Game 2 and scored another in Game 3. They also scored a goal two seconds after a Blackhawks’ penalty expired in Game 3. The Kings also shut out the Blackhawks on four power plays in Game 3.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter wasn’t as concerned in Game 3 as Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was in the first two games about matching up lines. The Kings have utilized their depth for goals throughout the series.
The Blackhawks have faced a 2-1 series deficit in four of their last seven series. They came back to win the last three. The Blackhawks have also won at least one road game in their last 12 series.
Kings forward Jeff Carter has been on a tear. He has eight points, including four goals, in the three games. He has five goals and five assists in the last five games.
The Blackhawks’ top line of Bryan Bickell, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa has been clicking, but the other three lines have been inconsistent. Patrick Kane said between games he was disappointed in his play and would be looking to demand the puck more in Game 4. He scored four goals in Games 3 and 4 against the Kings in the Western Conference finals last season.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick has stopped 292 of 308 shots for .948 save percentage in his team’s 10 playoff wins this season. He's had a .849 save percentage (157 of 185 shots) in their seven losses.
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has allowed nine goals in the last two games. He’s given up 24 goals on 193 shots for a .876 save percentage in the Blackhawks’ six playoff losses. He’s made 260 saves on 272 shots for a .956 save percentage in their nine wins.