Preview: Kings At Blackhawks
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[May 21, 2014]
The Chicago Blackhawks look to
continue their dominating play at United Center on Wednesday, when they
host the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of the Western Conference final.
The reigning Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks have won all seven of their
home contests this postseason and 18 of their last 20 playoff games in
their own building - matching the mark of the high-flying Edmonton
Oilers from 1988-90. After defeating Los Angeles in all three meetings
in the Windy City in last year's conference final, Chicago received a
power-play goal and an assist from Brandon Saad en route to a 3-1
triumph in Game 1 on Sunday.
While the result was not the desired one, Los Angeles has proven
to be a resilient team as it became the fourth club in NHL history
to overcome a 3-0 series deficit by upending San Jose in the first
round before rallying from a 3-2 hole against Anaheim in the second.
"I think we played fine, but as (coach Darryl Sutter) would say, "OK
is not OK," Willie Mitchell said. The Kings defenseman recorded two
hits in his return following an eight-game absence due to a
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS
ABOUT THE KINGS: Anze Kopitar leads the league in playoff scoring
with 19 points but did not register a single shot in Game 1 and was
held off the scoresheet for just the second time in 15 postseason
games. Linemate Marian Gaborik, who leads the NHL with nine goals,
was able to record three shots but failed to secure a point for the
second time in nine contests. Tanner Pearson collected a point for
the second straight game after his centering feed from along the end
line was redirected home by Tyler Toffoli early in the second period
for Los Angeles' lone tally.
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS: Andrew Shaw is in line to make his return from
a six-game absence on Wednesday. The gritty Shaw has been sidelined
with a lower-body injury, suffered when he was on the receiving end
of a check from Minnesota defenseman Clayton Stoner during the
second-round series. Chicago won four of the six contests without
Shaw, who recorded 20 goals and 19 assists during the regular season
and had two of each in the playoffs.
[to top of second column]
1. The Blackhawks thwarted two power-play opportunities for the
Kings in Game 1 and have killed off 44-of-48 short-handed situations
in the playoffs.
2. Los Angeles G Jonathan Quick yielded three goals on 20 shots on
Sunday and has allowed 28 tallies in his team's seven losses. By
comparison, Quick has permitted 11 goals in the Kings' eight
3. Chicago G Corey Crawford's 1.90 goals-against average leads the
league while his save percentage of .933 trails only Henrik
Lundqvist (.934) of the New York Rangers.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 4, Kings 2
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