Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/26/14 at 01:59 PM ET
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
It's a well-worn storyline but when one team gets rolling like the Kings are, the eyes are naturally drawn to the players who aren't performing on the other side of the equation. Patrick Kane has one goal and one assist in his past eight games. His play in the series reminds us a bit of the last part of the Olympic tournament, when the skilled winger was just a bit off. He had a great chance early in the second period in the slot of Game 3 and then had another chance off the rebound but couldn't find the back of the net. "I don't think I've played up to par for myself the first three games of the series. It would be nice to turn that around and play good in Game 4," Kane said Sunday....
The Blackhawks went 0-for-4 on the power play in Game 3 and are now a desultory 1-for-21 on the road in the playoffs. We might not know much about math, but we do know those stats stink and tell us the Blackhawks are the worst team in the playoffs on the road with the man advantage. And it's quite possibly the single element that is most critical for the Blackhawks to fix if they are going to even this series Monday. They have scored the first goal in all three games and have forced the Kings onto their heels early on, including forcing the Kings into minor penalties early in the game. ...
A year ago, when the Blackhawks dispatched the Kings in five games in the Western Conference finals, it was clear the Kings were not the Kings of 2012. They were banged up and worn down. Are we seeing a mirror image with the Blackhawks, who played a ton of hockey in winning the Cup last year during a lockout-shortened season that went to June 24? Throw in the compressed schedule of this past season and the fact that 10 Blackhawks played in Sochi at the Olympics, and is it not possible that this team is simply fatigued and that, conversely, the Kings are in a better spot than a year ago, even though they had to endure two seven-game series to get here?...
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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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