Sunday, June 1, 2014
W2W4: Blackhawks vs. Kings (Game 7)
By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings face off Sunday in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals at the United Center, with the series tied 3-3. Here's what to watch for:
The Kings held a 3-1 series advantage, but the Blackhawks won Game 5 in double overtime in Chicago and won Game 6 in Los Angeles. The Blackhawks overcame third-period deficits in both games and became the fourth team in Stanley Cup playoffs history to win consecutive elimination games when trailing in the third period, according to Elias Sports.
Only one other team has overcome a 3-1 deficit in the conference finals. The New Jersey Devils did it against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2000. The Blackhawks could also become the first team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit in consecutive seasons. The Blackhawks did so against the Detroit Red Wings in the conference semifinals last season.
Both teams enter Game 7 with history on their side. The Blackhawks are 13-0 in Games 5-7 the last two seasons. The Kings are 6-0 in elimination games this season and advanced in the previous two rounds by winning Game 7 on the road.
The Kings are the third team in NHL history to play all 21 possible games through three rounds since all rounds went to best-of-seven in 1987.
Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane was held in check for the first four games, but he’s come alive in the last two. He had four assists in Game 5 and two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist in Game 6. He has seven points in the last two games and eight points in the series. He had a hat trick when the Blackhawks clinched the Western Conference finals in Game 5 last season against the Kings.
The Blackhawks have been better on the special teams in the past two games. After scoring just one power-play goal and allowing five in Games 2-5, the Blackhawks outscored the Kings 2-1 on special teams in the past two games. The Blackhawks are 7-2 in the playoffs this season and 14-2 in the last two seasons when they score a power-play goal.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty has been impressive throughout the series. He’s had three multi-point games and has seven points in the series. He nearly led the Kings to a victory in Game 6 with a goal and a primary assist in the third period. He has 16 points in the playoffs, which matches his own Kings record for a defenseman.
Both goaltenders have been up and down throughout the series. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has allowed 21 goals and has stopped 160 of 181 shots for a .884 save percentage in the series. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick has allowed 19 goals and has stopped 147 of 166 shots for a .886 save percentage.