There's no question that the road to back-to-back Stanley Cups these days is beyond difficult, but trying to win three in the four years seems like a monumental task and I will give the Chicago Blackhawks credit... they have been giving it a good go here in the 2014 playoffs. But no, it doesn't appear to be the case, as the Los Angeles Kings look like the fresher team and Game Four was a good indication that they won't be derailed from this trip to the Finals.
The Kings were able to man-handle the Blackhawks in the 1st period, putting pressure on the visitors, turning pucks over in the offensive zone and then making them pay. Jake Muzzin, Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown all registered goals in the opening frame, taking that 3-0 lead and they never looked back. The two teams traded goals in the 2nd period for a 4-1 score, then traded another couple goals in the 3rd for a 5-2 final and the Kings made perfect use of home-ice advantage, turning the tables on the Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks didn't have any more than nine shots in any one period in the game, as the Kings played their shutdown hockey to a tee, where Jonathan Quick only had to make 22 saves in the game for the win.
The notable pool players in Game Four for the Kings were Quick, Brown and Muzzin, who were already mentioned in the post, as well as Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams, who each chipped in with a couple of assists.
Game Five will go in Chicago on Wednesday, where I would expect a flurry from the Blackhawks to start the game, but if it looked anything like it did in Game Four, it won't last for very long and shouldn't be all that trying for the Los Angeles goaltending. I can see the Kings waiting out the storm and then providing the kill shot early.
Good news for Dale B., as his team was able to climb back into 2nd place with the Los Angeles win on Monday night, now sitting only 2 points back of Gus M.'s first team and 2 points up on his second team. Corey M. continues to hold out in 4th place, extending his gap over 5th place to 3 points.
Travis G., who sits in that 5th position, continues to lead the round with 43 points, through Monday night.
Credit for the winning goal on Monday went to Dustin Brown, his first bonus point of these 2014 playoffs. Brown, taken 10 times in the pool, made a few extra friends with his extra point and he got a nice quaint paragraph in this post too.
Former pool leader, Don D., still leads the whole she-bang in bonus points, as his team has collected 19 of them, but his team has dropped down to 7th place, thanks to a lack of players heading into the round. Unfortunately, his team just couldn't find the points, other than lighting the lamp to win games.
The highest team in the category that sits in a money spot... 4th place Corey M. leads the money leaders with 14 bonus points, which is good for a tie for 5th in the category.