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Piece By Piece: Blackhawks 3 – Kings 2 (Hawks Lead Series 3-1)

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles KingsThe Kings were undefeated at home so far in the playoffs. The Kings were 22-0 when scoring first all season long. The Blackhawks were without their best defenseman (and possibly just their best overall player). The Blackhawks found themselves down a goal twice in the game. And none of it really mattered. After a simply dominant third period, the Blackhawks found themselves up 3-1 in the series and the games shift back to Chicago on Saturday night. It’s not over yet but the finals are clearly back in our sights as the Kings need to win 3 in a row to close this out… and yes, that includes two games on the road for LA, where they’ve been awful.

Bullets after the jump

And here we go.

  • Clearly, the biggest news from this game was the stellar third period for Chicago. After Kane finally found a way to get a goal (on a puck that was probably already heading across the line) late in the second to tie the game, the Blackhawks came out with their hair on fire in the second. They caught the Kings in a bad change and Oduya sprung Handzus across the line who set up Hossa for a brilliant one-timer just over a minute in and then they simply didn’t look back.Even with Sheldon Brookbank playing the #6 role, the defense was lights out. It’s now the Kings who are dealing with talks of them looking flat but it was the suffocating defense from Chicago that put this game away. The Kings only managed two shots on goal for the whole of the third period, even as they trailed for just about all of it.
  • Q decided once again to switch things around to see if he could get his top lines going and it seemed to work out pretty well. About halfway through the second we saw Daydream Nation reunited with Bickell on the wing and just as we suspected, the change did well for Kaner. The extra space created by Toews and Bicks allowed Kane to not only net his first goal since Game 3 against Scum but also let him tie his playoff high mark for SOG with 7.I don’t think we ever saw Kane mesh with Handzus so I would fully expect to see the lines remain the same on Saturday… though trying to figure out Q’s logic can sometimes be quite infuriating.
  • Brookbank looked pretty lost and was on the ice for both goals against from the Kings but that’s the sort of shit that happens when someone hasn’t played since April. No one expected him to come in a fully fill in for Keith so I’d actually give him fairly high-marks (or at least not horseshit low ones) just for not turning into a puddle of urine and sweat. As mentioned above, the Hawks defense was key to the game and that does include Brookbank… though he did only play 5 shifts after the first period. Still, good on him for filling in but I still can’t wait for Keith to get back. Rozsival really stepped it up – playing an ungodly amount of minutes. Hammer and Biscuit were also great.
  • How pretty was that goal from Hossa? You cannot place a one-timer better than that.
  • If Kaner hadn’t knocked in the loose puck, Bryan Bickell could very well be tied for the playoff goal lead. That would also have given him the same amount of goals in the playoffs as he had for the entire (shortened) regular season. Bickell’s motto for the playoffs is evidently “Fuck you. Pay me”. We had been thinking the Hawks had no chance of keeping Stalberg around next year, that still may be the case but Bicks is clearly making a name for himself.
  • Back to the defense real quick – A defenseman got the secondary assist in every goal for the Hawks. Pitching in like that is what makes this whole team dangerous.
  • Nothing ever happens on the 5-on-3.
  • The Kings had been phenomenal at home and then shat the bed. They’ve been awful on the road but there’s no chance they go down without a fight here on Saturday. I really don’t want to see this series head back out West. Finish it out sooner rather than later boys.

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