Thursday, May 29, 2014

One Game Six Deserves Another, Hawks Extend

If the Los Angeles Kings were to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals early in this series, they would have to do so on the road at the United Center in Chicago. The hosts were also not going to be very hospitable, allowing it to happen very easily.  They weren't and the didn't... at all.

If there was one thing I'm sure most of us didn't expect out of this series is the number of goals being scored.  It has been a wild series, with 26 goals scored between the two teams going into Game Five and the game started off with a bunch of flashing red lights.

Before the 14-minute mark of the 1st period, the Blackhawks already held a 3-2 lead in the game, which included a 3-1 lead, just after the 11-minute mark.  The goals were coming fast and it was hard to gauge which way the result would lean.

Sure enough, the Kings would tie up the game and take the lead in the 2nd period, as it was 4-3 Los Angeles heading into the 3rd and the Kings were able to tighten up earlier in the series and it was fully expected that they would again to close out the series.

No, but wait!  Chicago ties up the game on a Ben Smith goal, early in the final frame and then it was last goal wins hockey until the end.

The 3rd period ended without a deciding goal, the 1st overtime period came and went, but in the 2nd overtime period, Michal Handzus picked up a loose puck in front of Jonathan Quick and was able to roof it on a beautiful finish, ending the game, two minutes in.

The Blackhawks force one more game, Game Six, which will go in Los Angeles on Friday night, a 7pm MT start.  Chicago facing elimination one more time, but this time, they'll be in the hostile environment, where the Kings have been lights out.

In the pool, the notable players for Chicago in the game were Patrick Kane, who had 4 assists, Brandon Saad, with a goal and 2 assists, while Johnny Oduya and Corey Crawford each came away with 2 points.  On the Los Angeles side, Dustin Brown came away with a goal and an assist to lead pool players on his team in a losing cause.

ImplicationsWhat does it all mean? A new leader! Corey M., who has been hanging around as one of the better teams in round three of these playoffs, managed to jump both Dale B. and Gus M. for 1st place, based on the first tie-breaker, goals for.  Gus' first team also has 228 points, tied with Corey's team, but sits 7 goals back.

Dale B. drops down to 3rd place with 226 points, while Travis G. sits in 4th, also with 226 points, 4 goals back, and now Wes M., joins the fray with 226 points and is 8 goals back of Dale B. for 3rd place.  How tight is this?  The answer: very.

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