Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/19/14 at 09:14 AM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Considering they were playing for the second time in 40 hours, after taking their first two series to the limit, Sunday’s meeting with the Chicago Blackhawks was always going to be a wish-and-a-prayer sort of game for the Los Angeles Kings anyway. The Kings were hoping that they could come in and steal a game, even though they were theoretically running on fumes, and weirdly, they almost did.
Territorially, it was theirs for the taking. They outshot the Blackhawks – the margin was an eye-popping 17-6 in the second period alone – and mostly outplayed them as well. Chicago scored two goals on deflections, had a third goal controversially disallowed, but didn’t put it away until a Jonathan Toews converted a three-on-one with 3:50 to go in regulation. Ultimately, the Blackhawks were happy enough to skate away with a 3-1 win and get a leg up in the first game of the Western Conference final.
The series, a much-anticipated match-up between the past two Stanley Cup champions, was always going to feature contrasting playing styles – Chicago, boasting the NHL’s No. 2 regular-season offence; Los Angeles countering with the league’s No. 1 defence. It was Chicago’s skill against L.A.’s size – but the funny thing about predetermined scripts is they don’t always play out the way they’re supposed.
If anything, the Blackhawks had far more trouble handling L.A.’s speed than its physical play.
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