Blackhawks fight to keep season going
Tonight, the Kings have their first chance to win the series against the Blackhawks, and to earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Final. Game 5 will be played in Chicago, after 4 games that saw the Kings take a 3-1 series lead.
The Blackhawks, in the past 3 games, have been mostly outplayed and outshot, despite individual efforts across the board to keep the team in the games. But the Kings have seemed stronger and simply playing better, taking less penalties, more disciplined than the Blackhawks.
The kings have got variety in offense going on for them as well. Plenty of goal scorers on their lineup, similar to the way the Blackhawks were playing during the 2013 playoffs. The Kings have Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik, Jeff Carter and the rest of his line, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, as well as Drew Doughty helping out with both defense and offense.
The Blackhawks themselves have struggled with offense, with the likes of Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane not producing to their usual rate - Kane only has one assist in this series, while Sharp has one goal. The first line of Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Bryan Bickell has been producing most of the goals this series, and the Blackhawks would benefit from offense across all lines to win against the Kings.
Both teams have managed to stay healthy, despite gruelling series on both sides. Andrew Shaw came back to the lineup for Chicago, and has been practicing as the 2nd line center, as coach Joel Quenneville has been mixing up lines to try and spark up offense for his team.
The Blackhawks have been with their backs against the wall before, notably during last year’s playoffs in their series against the Detroit Red Wings, and they went on to win the series, and then the Cup. They’ll need all of their determination to keep their current series going, as well as their chances to repeat.
Game 3 airs tonight at 8.00pm ET, and can be seen on CBC, NBCSN, and RDS.