Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times,
It’s a mind game now. You just know the Blackhawks like their chances.
“We want to stay with that mentality that we’re putting all the pressure on them,” Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said Thursday before heading to Los Angeles with his teammates for Game 6 of the Western Conference final, “and it’s going to be tough for them to close it out and win that fourth game against us. We showed how resilient of a group we are [in Game 5]. We’re going to do it again [in Game 6].”
Trailing the series 3-2 but buoyed by a thrilling 5-4 double-overtime victory in Game 5, the Hawks are reaching deep into their bag of tricks for possibly the only trump cards they have left — their mental toughness and will to win.
The way this series has gone it’s the Hawks’ last and best hope to complete a mathematically unlikely comeback from a 3-1 series deficit. They’re certainly not outclassing the Kings on the ice. They’ve given up six unanswered goals in one game, lost two-goal leads in two games. The Kings are the better team in the face-off circle, on the penalty kill and the power play.
"We know we can't let it go to Game 7. They're a good team in their home arena. They feed off their fans. It's a tough arena to play in. So we need to win [Friday].
"No matter what, this game has to be ours. It's so important for us to advance to the Stanley Cup Final that we win this game. If we give them this game they're going to have so much more life and they're going to be a different team."
-Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings via Helene Elliott of the LA Times where you can read more as Chicago and Los Angeles prepare for game 6.
from Ed Sherman of the Chicago Tribune,
They won't admit it, but privately NBC will be rooting for the Blackhawks to pull off the comeback against the Kings this weekend.
Having the Hawks in the Stanley Cup Final is huge for NBC. Not as much with the Kings.
With the Rangers and Kings still alive, Chicago technically is the nation's No. 3 TV market in terms of overall viewers during the playoffs. But thanks to the avid following for the Hawks, the town is a clear-cut No. 1 in terms of delivering hockey viewers.
The numbers tell the story. Before Thursday's Rangers-Montreal game, New York was averaging a 4.1 rating for Rangers games during the playoffs; Los Angeles is at 1.7 for Kings games. Meanwhile, Chicago checks in at a robust 13.4 for Hawks playoff games.
While being careful not to play favorites in the Western Conference finals, NBC announcer Mike Emrick knows what the Blackhawks have meant to the NBC in recent years.
"It's a magical time for hockey in Chicago," Emrick said. "There's a passion that is hard to discount. Even Mr. Fix-it on Saturday morning is talking Blackhawks hockey."
By Nick Tranfaglia of TiqIQ,
After a Game 5 loss in Chicago Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Kings return to the Staples Center for Game 6 Friday in hopes of eliminating the Blackhawks on home ice. Though they lead the series 3-2, the Kings continue to see a drop in average secondary ticket price for Game 6 in Los Angeles.
As Game 6 approaches, the average price for LA Kings tickets on the secondary market at the Staples Center is now $410.48, down 6.75% from yesterday’s average of $440.19, according to TiqIQ. Los Angeles holds the cheapest secondary average among all remaining teams in the NHL Playoffs.
Almost two minutes long...
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
His voice sounds like childhood, like staying up past bedtime, like wearing out the front edge of the family couch.
And we’ll get to hear it one more time, at least.
Since the legendary Foster Hewitt passed away in 1985, hockey’s most recognizable play-by-play voice has belonged to Robert Cecil Cole, who broadcasted at least one game of the Stanley Cup Final from 1980 through 2008.
Cole will turn 81 next month. With age and accuracy heading in opposite directions, he has slipped to Hockey Night in Canada‘s second line, behind the razor-sharp Jim Hughson, 57. And now his future in the booth is in doubt.
Last night, George posted Cole's call of Chicago's game winning, OT goal and below, watch the same call with a camera focused on Bob Cole...
A amazing fact about Cole I read last night, he's called 144 OT games in his NHL career as a broadcaster.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
“Just losing in overtime, that stings a lot, knowing we could have had it so many times,” said defenseman Drew Doughty, who was superb in playing a game-high 39:04 and probably got his longest rest when he spent 43 seconds in the penalty box before Chicago scored its first goal.
“We had the lead going into the third, which you can't ask for much more than that. And to give up a goal like that, kind of early in the third is kind of a dagger. We had opportunities to win. We just didn't do the job.”
The Blackhawks, 8-1 at home during the playoffs, were boosted by a four-assist game from Patrick Kane and a forceful performance by Saad as they prolonged their reign for at least one more game. Coach Joel Quenneville, perhaps borrowing a page from the Kings' playoff-rally playbook, reconfigured his lines to get more balance and got a dynamo in the trio of Saad, Andrew Shaw and Kane. Quenneville also emphasized the need to play the right way, to not open it up late in the game and allow the Kings to knife through their defense as happened in Games 2 and 3.
“We had more of a purpose,” Quenneville said.
When that purpose is extending your season, it's a powerful motivator.
The game starts just after 8:00pm ET and is on NBCSN, CBC and RDS.
With a win, the Los Angeles Kings will be in the Stanley Cup Final but Chicago may have something to say about that.
Expect the Blackhawks to take an early lead, settle in, then the Kings will make it a game and find a way to celebrate on Chicago's ice.
from Lance Pugmire of the LA Times,
“Right now I feel the pressure is all on them,” Kane said. “Obviously, being up in a 3-1 position, you never want to lose that in a series. We have a great opportunity tonight, playing in front of our home fans, to get another win and that’s all we’re looking at right now. We don’t feel any pressure in here and if there is any pressure, it’s probably all on the Kings.”
Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville agreed the pressure is “on L.A.”
A big part of the Blackhawks’ reasoning is linked to their rally from a 3-1 deficit in beating the Detroit Red Wings in seven games last year in the Western Conference semifinals.
“You look back against Detroit, we came in here, excited to be home, take advantage of the home crowd,” Quenneville said. “I don’t want to say loose, but let’s be excited about the opportunity. You’ve only got to win one game here.”
Forget the feel-good, “we’ve done it before” stuff. If the Blackhawks are going to get off the mat and back into this series, they need to pay attention to detail and commit to better defensive hockey. That means winning battles, having active sticks and making smart decisions with the puck.
And, most important, making the acreage in front of Crawford as inhospitable as possible for anyone in white. The Kings are going to get their tips, screens and rebounds. They’re just that good. But the Hawks have to dig deep and do what it takes to minimize them.
“We’re going to be a desperate hockey team [Wednesday] night,” Seabrook said. “We’ve got to come out, we’ve got to lay everything on the line or else our season’s over. I think we understand that.”
The Hawks have played more like an entitled team than a desperate one so far in this series. We’ll see if they have it in them.
-Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated where you can read more on how the Blackhawks can get back in the series with the Los Angeles Kings.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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