Kukla's Korner Hockey
It’s unfair to expect him to put together another record-setting run like he did in 2012, but Quick has yet to be a difference-maker in this series. We know he can steal a game on his own. And unless Los Angeles’ defense suddenly solves the magic of Patrick Kane, he might have to.
-Alan Muir of Sports Illustrated on Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. Read more on game 7 by Muir.
Q. Heading into Game 5, Brandon Saad said, We need to relax. Are you kind of sensing that same vibe, that confidence, that optimism?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: We want the same approach. I thought Game 5 we came into the game knowing we had a couple little changes in the lines. But I thought we had a good start to the game, good consistency to our game. I thought we rose to the challenge of what was at stake.
I thought each and every game in the series I thought we've progressed, played better. We needed to, as well, in those last two games.
Q. No idea if the lineup will look the way it looked out there in lines. Looked like the third line had a change up with Sharp and Kruger and Smith.
COACH QUENNEVILLE: They played a lot in the last two games. They scored a big goal for us last game. They give us some speed, some ability to check. I think they give us some balance, as well.
I thought the three of them worked well together two games ago. Played together a lot. For sure, the overtime part.
from Tracey Myers of CSNChicago,
Game 7: it’s the ultimate conclusion, the final game of a series, the winner-take-all contest, the last chance for a team to continue its postseason.
It’s intense, it’s dramatic, it’s pressure… right?
“I don’t look at it as pressure,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I think it’s been fun.”
Welcome to the outlook of a hockey player, whether it’s a past or a present one. What the Blackhawks coach thinks about Game 7s is what his players think, too: they’re fantastic. And the Blackhawks are looking to make another memorable Game 7 moment on Sunday night when they host the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Final finale.
The Kings have had their great Game 7 moments already this postseason, and winning this game on the road isn’t intimidating to them one bit. They did it in San Jose, coming back from a 3-0 series deficit in the first round. They did it in Anaheim, manhandling the Ducks in that final game to get to this point. So the Blackhawks know the Kings won’t be daunted by this situation.
And both squads also have impressive numbers in this department: the Blackhawks are 5-0 in elimination games the past two postseasons while the Kings are 6-0 in elimination games this postseason.
from Jill Painter of the Los Angeles Daily News,
The four-letter word you don’t want to say around the Kings right now has nothing to do with them not taking care of business in Game 6 and closing out the Western Conference Finals.
Keeping Patrick Kane in check will be of utmost importance for the Kings in Game 7 on Sunday.
Through the first three games of the series, Kane had one point. The way the Kings were playing him had a lot to do with that. They didn’t let him roam around freely, always had a body near him and took away his confidence. They knew where he was at all times.
Kane has seven points in the last two games, including the game-winner at Staples Center in Game 6, in which he skated around with the Kings’ end with such ease and nailed a wrister from high in the slot with 3:45 left.
The Kings must bottle him up if they are to advance.
“I don’t think there’s a player in the league that has the puck on his stick, time of possession over the course of a game, more. He sees plays, makes plays. The bigger the stage, the more he likes that challenge.”
-Joel Quenneville, head coach of the Chicago Blackhaws on Patrick Kane. More on Kane from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
So it comes down to this again:
One game, between the last two Stanley Cup champions, to decide which team gets to play for the trophy again.
Well, why not?
You always had the sense that the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings’ series would go down to the wire – and it will, thanks to Chicago’s 4-3 victory Friday night at Staples Center. The win, in a nervously played game where the lead kept changing hands, tied the Western Conference final at three apiece, with the deciding game set for the United Center in Chicago Sunday night.
Chicago is a sparkling 8-1 on home-ice in these playoffs, its only loss coming to the Kings in Game 2 of the series.
L.A., meanwhile, has won six road games in these playoffs, including victories in two previous Game 7s against both the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks in the first two rounds.
from Shawn Roarke of NHL.com,
The coaches have never stopped pushing buttons from the opening faceoff of Game 1 until the final whistle Friday. Quenneville has changed his personnel and jumbled his lines. His decision to put Kane with Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw in Game 5 looks inspired. Sutter has made adjustments, both minor and major, to counter many of the things the Blackhawks normally do well. He has rendered tame their potent power play for long stretches and has found weaknesses in a penalty kill that had dominated Chicago's first two opponents this spring.
It all culminates in what every hockey fan covets: a winner-takes-all Game 7 that will be played in United Center, which will be a madhouse of epic proportions.
Thirty-eight players, some good, some great, will take the ice and try to be the difference-maker, trying to propel their team to greater glory and a place in the Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers.
For the Blackhawks, it is for a chance to try to defend the crown that has rested so comfortably on their head all year. For the Kings, it is the chance to be the first team in League history to win three Game 7s -- all on the road, no less -- to reach the championship round.
"Hey, it's been a great series," Sutter said. "Now it comes down to one game."
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
This is a trip the Kings didn't want to make. And for a few moments, after Alec Martinez put them ahead, 3-2, at 7:38 of the third period, it appeared they wouldn't have to pack their bags yet again. But their inability to stop Kane — again — has put them on the edge of a playoff precipice.
"We've got a one-game playoff here in their building to punch a ticket to the finals," Martinez said, "and we've got to focus on learning from our mistakes tonight and going in there ready to play."
Defenseman Drew Doughty, every bit as dazzling for the Kings on Friday as Kane was for Chicago, tried to put a positive spin on the situation.
"I think before the series if we were asked 'would you go to Game 7 with Chicago and just be put in that spot in just a one-game thing,' I think we would take it," he said.
But there's a different feeling to it now, after they've backed into this winner-goes-to-the-finals scenario.
They haven't been able to dictate the style in the last two outings and the Blackhawks have gained control and confidence. There's a reason why the Blackhawks won the Cup last season and are a victory away from continuing their quest to become the first repeat champion since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings: The Blackhawks are 13-0 in Games 5 through 7 of their playoff series over the last two postseasons, a sign they know how to close things out.
Perhaps the line of the playoffs from Darryl Sutter when asked what he said to the players after the game.
His response, "fly at 11".
Watch a quick recap from both Joel Quenneville and Darryl Sutter post-game...
added 11:22am, A second video has been added, with the quote from Sutter at the beginning of the video.
Watch it below the first video...
Just like last night, game 6 will be played like a game 7 for Los Angeles Kings.
They certainly do not want to fly to Chicago again for a game 7 on Sunday while the Chicago Blackhawks know tonight is a must win game.
My thoughts, the Kings win and stay home, waiting for the arrival of the New York Rangers.
Tonight's game starts just after 9:00pm ET and is on NBCSN, CBC and RDS.
Enjoy and feel free to leave a comment on anything hockey related.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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