Kings Take The Series Lead, But This Is Far From Over.

Jeff Gross

Blackhawks continue their trend of sloppy Game 3's on the road with a 4-3 loss to the Kings.

When did the Western Conference Finals become a best 2 out 3 series? Sure, the last four periods have not been great but pull back from the ledge people! The one thing I have learned over the last 17 months is that I will not write off this team until they are on the losing end of the handshake line.  I know NBC wants you to believe the Kings are the first team in NHL history to ever overcome adversity, but come on.  The Hawks need to win one game in Los Angeles, and didn't have to be this one.


The Kings decided to do the most LA thing possible to start Game 3 and have Slash play the National Anthem.  Michael Handzus started off his rough night by being called for concealing the puck 4:40 into the game.  Jonathan Toews would get the Hawks on the board with a shorthanded goal at 5:26. Toews got in between Justin Williams, Alec Martinez and the puck at his blue line, won the race to the puck at the left faceoff circle, and shot it in between Jonathan Quick's legs and just inside the near post.  Slava Voynov would tie the game just 40 seconds later with a wicked snap shot from the top of the left circle over Corey Crawford's left shoulder.  Toews would get the Hawks the lead back at 13:19 with his second goal of the period.  Marian Hossa cycled the puck to Michal Rozsival who carried it down to the slot, dangled and shot.  Quick made the save but Toews was in front of the net put put the rebound back into the net.


Jeff Carter, who has owned the Hawks this series, tied the game 8:08 into the 2nd period.  Brent Seabrook couldn't remove Tanner Pearson off the puck and Michal Handzus and Johnny both refused to put a body on Carter who was wide open in front for the easy goal.  Sloppy play in the neutral zone allowed Tyler Toffoli to split Niklas Hjamarsson and Johnny Oduya and sneak the puck past Corey Crawford at 14:19.


Drew Doughty gave the Kings an insurance goal at 11:57, two seconds after a high sticking penalty to Michal Rozsival expired.  Just before Doughty took a slap shot from the top of the right circle, Johnny Oduya slid across to block the shot, but missed it and got into Crawford's field of vision allowing the goal to score.  Patrick Sharp scored a meaningless goal with three seconds left when he deflected a Nick Leddy shot into the net.

* The Blackhawks have been able to roll four lines all season long, but when the playoffs come around it is all of a sudden a major problem.  We can expect the Q line blender to go to full nuclear for Game 4.  I would start with putting Patrick Kane back on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell. Right now you have a special player paired with a guy who can't score to save his life and someone who helped Noah build his Ark.  Kane has been a killer in the playoffs and he needs to be with better players.

* The biggest reason Michal Handzus has been in the lineup is because has been good on the penalty kill.  Well, the penalty kill has been garbage the last four periods, so there is no reason to play him any more.  If you keep throwing Handzus out there against the Jeff Carter line this is not going to end well.  You can't tell me Ben Smith can't do want Handzus does on the penalty kill.  There are too many guys getting ice time that offer nothing.  If I were coach, and I'm not, my lines would be 29-19-88, 10-65-81, 20-12-11, 52/23-16-28.  And it might be time to start rotating Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank on a game by game performance.

* Hey. let's start putting 19 out there against Carter if we can. Thanks!

* I have been saying Nick Leddy needs to be on the top power play unit for a long time.  Leddy leads the team in postseason power play points and Duncan Keith isn't doing much for the top unit.  At the end of the 2nd period, the puck found Keith at point with Jonathan Quick sprawled out.  Instead of firing the puck as soon as it touched his tape he waited to Quick got back into position and then missed the net by 10 feet.  You HAVE to bury the shot in that situation.

* I find it hard to believe that Jarret Stoll only won 57% of his faceoffs because it seemed he won every single one if his draws Saturday night. The Hawks won 47% of the faceoffs but it seem that they lost every single "important" draw of the night.

* The Corsi is not as bad as you would think, with the Hawks actually finishing at 50.4 CF%.  Hossa, Toews and Bickell were really good in the Corsi numbers and Sharp, Handzus and Kane were awful. Go figure.

* Lots of angst out there, just relax.  If/when the Hawks win Game 4 this series is back to even.  Put down the torches and pitch forks until the Hawks eliminated.

Advanced Stats

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Keith, Duncan

D

18:17

54.3

5.4

61.9

9.0

70.0

Hjalmarsson, Niklas

D

15:06

58.3

10.1

60.0

5.7

25.0

Seabrook, Brent

D

18:22

48.8

-5.1

58.3

3.5

70.0

Leddy, Nick

D

12:39

50.0

-1.6

50.0

-8.5

66.7

Sharp, Patrick

R

13:39

30.4

-29.2

35.7

-27.7

57.1

Kruger, Marcus

C

08:57

55.6

5.6

50.0

-8.5

0.0

Toews, Jonathan

C

15:15

62.1

17.0

76.5

29.1

45.5

Saad, Brandon

L

12:25

61.1

12.7

58.3

2.5

62.5

Versteeg, Kris

R

09:27

57.1

7.1

58.3

2.5

83.3

Handzus, Michal

C

09:03

29.4

-27.7

35.7

-27.7

66.7

Oduya, Johnny

D

15:44

46.4

-7.4

55.0

-2.1

25.0

Smith, Ben

R

09:17

38.9

-16.0

46.2

-13.4

0.0

Bickell, Bryan

L

13:52

72.7

29.6

85.7

39.4

62.5

Rozsival, Michal

D

12:58

43.8

-9.4

45.5

-13.6

66.7

Bollig, Brandon

L

05:32

46.2

-6.1

46.2

-13.4

0.0

Shaw, Andrew

C

11:40

53.3

2.6

44.4

-14.3

71.4

Hossa, Marian

R

14:54

76.0

36.0

83.3

40.1

45.5

Kane, Patrick

R

17:13

30.8

-30.3

40.0

-22.5

57.1

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Greene, Matt

D

10:28

40.0

-11.7

28.6

-20.2

40.0

Muzzin, Jake

D

17:39

46.9

-3.1

40.9

-4.5

50.0

Doughty, Drew

D

19:55

50.0

2.4

46.2

4.8

50.0

Richards, Mike

C

10:13

45.5

-3.8

37.5

-7.2

33.3

Kopitar, Anze

C

13:16

46.4

-3.6

36.8

-10.4

77.8

Gaborik, Marian

R

12:46

44.8

-6.2

33.3

-15.3

77.8

Clifford, Kyle

L

09:20

63.6

17.3

62.5

22.1

50.0

Williams, Justin

R

13:15

50.0

1.6

50.0

8.1

40.0

Lewis, Trevor

C

10:04

50.0

1.4

33.3

-11.6

66.7

Brown, Dustin

L

12:07

46.2

-3.8

38.9

-7.1

77.8

Voynov, Slava

D

15:55

54.5

8.0

53.3

13.3

55.6

Martinez, Alec

D

10:41

36.4

-17.1

26.7

-23.3

40.0

Stoll, Jarret

C

12:51

53.8

6.1

57.1

15.5

28.6

Mitchell, Willie

D

18:10

61.5

18.9

61.1

26.0

55.6

Pearson, Tanner

L

09:51

54.5

8.0

50.0

8.5

16.7

Toffoli, Tyler

C

10:09

46.7

-3.3

43.5

-0.3

100

King, Dwight

L

11:59

42.9

-7.1

45.5

2.3

40.0

Carter, Jeff

C

13:21

50.0

2.0

47.6

6.4

16.7

*all data collected from www.nhl.com and www.extraskater.com

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