Blackhawks scheming to beat Kings' Quick

May, 31, 2013
5/31/13
6:50
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have a plan on how to beat Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick in the Western Conference finals.

Whether that plan will work is another story. For the past two seasons, six other teams have lined up a plan to get past Quick, and they all failed in the playoffs.

[+] EnlargeQuick
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY SportsThe Blackhawks have a strategy for scoring on Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, but his championship level of play will make it tough.
Quick went 16-4 with a 1.41 goals-against average, a .946 save percentage and three shutouts while helping the Kings to the Stanley Cup and earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP last season. Now this season, he's 8-5 with a 1.50 goals-against average, a .948 save percentage and three shutouts in the playoffs.

"Well, he's had a special couple years in the playoffs," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Friday. "He's a different kind of goalie the way he moves so quick in the crease or even above it. Traffic is something we talked about. Pucks at the net, second opportunities are the ones you're going to beat them with."

The Blackhawks already faced a hot goalie in the playoffs when they went up against Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard in the conference semifinals. The Blackhawks struggled to figure Howard out during Games 2, 3 and 4, in which they scored a total of two goals.

But as the series progressed, the Blackhawks began taking more shots and getting more players to the net and ultimately put in more goals. They scored 10 goals over the series' final three games.

The Blackhawks have a similar strategy against Quick.

"He likes to come out of the crease," Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa said. "We try to pin him in. The way to do it is to have a presence in front of the net. … They don't give us many shots on the net. They have lots of guys who can block shots. Try to do [what we did against the Red Wings] again. Probably just the shots from the corners and we go for second chances.

"The great play [would be] side-to-side one-timers. They're playing so well defensively. You thought there was little room against the Red Wings. Against the Kings, there's going to be less room. That's how good they are defensively."

Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg thought traffic in front of the net would be key against the Kings, but it would come with a price.

"I know L.A.'s defense is really good at keeping guys away from [Quick]," Stalberg said. "It's going to take a lot of sacrifice, a lot of guys to get in front of the net to take those hits and crosschecks, whatever it might be. That's what we got to do to beat him there, I think."

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane also thought elevating the puck was essential.

"I think with him, he takes away the bottom of the net very well," Kane said. "He's very fast moving side to side. I think we all know that he likes to challenge just from watching him.

"You want to get traffic, make sure he's not seeing the puck. And when you get the second opportunities, elevate the puck in the upper half of the net to eliminate him taking away the bottom of the net. He's a great goaltender. Been playing very well in the playoffs a couple years now. Seems to be getting better and better. We definitely have our work cut out for us."
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26