Showtime Returns To Los Angeles

Jeff Gross

The Blackhawks show the resolve of a champion and take down the Kings 4-3, in a wild game, to force a final showdown on Sunday.

This team man, this fucking team! I took a lot of crap on Twitter after Game 4 for saying I won't write off this team until they are on the losing end of the handshake line.  I am not hearing from those people too much these days. I swear some Blackhawks fans get more enjoyment out of their losses than their wins.  But who cares about those dopes? GAME SEVEN BABY!!!

Everyone knew Kris Versteeg was not going to see the ice Friday night, but not too many of us thought we'd see Sheldon Brookbank back at the wing.  The 1st period followed the script of the series so far with the Blackhawks getting an early push with the Kings responded later in the period. The Blackhawks would get the only power play of the period, but could not get a shot on goal.  Dwight King, who was denied a breakaway thanks to a nice back check by Brandon Saad earlier in the period, scored the opening goal at 17:03.  Brent Seabrook had no interest in engaging Jarret Stoll for the puck behind the night and King was left wide open for the goal because Michal Handzus decided that below the goal line was the place to be.

Much like the 3rd period of Game 5, it didn't take long for the Hawks to tie the game in the 2nd period.  Anze Kopitar was called for hooking Jonathan Toews just 20 seconds into the period.  After a good keep in from Duncan Keith, Toews found Patrick Kane skating hard to the net and put the puck past Jonathan Quick for his first goal of the series.  About a minute and half later The Real American Hero, Ben Smith, gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead.  G.I. Joe ain't got nothing on Smitty! Patrick Sharp made a nice pass to Smith from the blue line to the right circle.  Smith kicked the puck from skates to his stick but got the puck poked checked away from him by Quick as he got close to the net.  He regained the puck and banked it off of Quick's backside for his fourth goal of the playoffsand his second in as many games.  Quick would be involved in some post whistle activity at the end of the period.  Andrew Shaw was pushed into him by Jarret Stoll and he took exception to it.  As Quick skated off the ice, Crow waited for him at the blue line and had a few words for the Kings goalie.  Quick bumped him and went off to the locker room.  That's two years in a row Crawford has given Quick a chance to go.  Good stuff.

The Hawks' biggest problem this series has been their inability to clear the puck at times and it came back to bite them in ass twice in the third period.  Drew Doughty buried a shot from the slot to tie the game, at 5:32, after a failed clearing attempt.  Jonathan Toews got caught hooking Anze Kopitar moments later and the Kings cashed in with a power play goal.  Doughty was able to keep in another failed clearing attempt, skate around, and hit Alec Martinez with a behind the back pass.  Martinez buried a wrist shot between Crawford's legs for a 3-2 Kings lead.  So for the second game in a row the Blackhawks found themselves training in the 3rd period in an elimination game, which means they pull it off of course! Duncan Keith tied the game at 11:34 after Patrick Kane hit him with a nice pass as he broke to the slot.  Brandon Saad provided a screen in front which aided the puck past Quick.  Less than five minutes later it would be Showtime himself who would provide the kill shot. Kane got the puck in the right circle and was allowed to skate back to the center of the zone where he floated a wrist shot through traffic for the game winner. This time Andrew Shaw and Saad provided the screen in front of the Kings net.  No goalie can stop what they can't see.

* In Games 2-4 the KIngs' "That 70's LIne" took over and put their team in control of the series.  The last two games saw the combination of Saad, Shaw and Kane, which has already been dubbed as the "Mullet Line" take over.  This is good for the Hawks because the mullet was created in the 80's and everyone knows the 80's were better than the 70's.  Teddy Ruxpin wasn't invented in the 70's, just sayin'. The Kings don't have an answer for this line right now.  It will be interesting to see if Darryl Sutter pulls Drew Doughty off the Toews line duty and puts them out there against the second line.  It wouldn't surprise me if Doughty never comes off the ice Sunday.

* If you didn't think Patrick Kane wouldn't have a big Game 6, you haven't been paying attention.  The brighter the lights, the better he plays.  This kid is cold blooded killer and a crusher of dreams.  Sweet baby Jebus, I love him!

* The Blackhawks are now 8-0 in Game 6's, on the road, under Joel Quenneville.  That is just insane!

* Not hearing much from the "start Antti Raanta" mouth breathers lately.  Corey Crawford has been money since he gave up that weak goal to Tanner Pearson in the 2nd period of Game 5. As soon as you think you have him painted into a corner he fights his way out with big saves, chirps and squirts from his water bottle.  I don't care if he isn't an "elite" goaltender, he is a great goaltender on this team.

* Who knows what Q is going do with his lines on Sunday.  I just hope he dresses 12 forwards....

Advanced Stats

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Keith, Duncan

D

20:58

41.7

-0.7

40.6

-1.4

69.2

Hjalmarsson, Niklas

D

19:14

31.4

-16.9

32.1

-14.2

46.7

Seabrook, Brent

D

15:42

60.7

26.4

60.0

26.7

90.9

Leddy, Nick

D

11:07

36.8

-6.6

25.0

-20.5

100

Sharp, Patrick

R

14:11

56.0

18.9

60.0

24.5

62.5

Kruger, Marcus

C

13:45

38.1

-5.1

37.5

-4.9

33.3

Brookbank, Sheldon

D

05:09

22.2

-22.0

25.0

-18.2

100

Toews, Jonathan

C

16:44

34.5

-11.0

34.6

-10.0

64.7

Saad, Brandon

L

17:41

48.5

9.8

46.4

7.5

80.0

Handzus, Michal

C

07:19

33.3

-10.4

38.5

-3.6

42.9

Oduya, Johnny

D

21:04

45.0

5.0

50.0

14.6

61.1

Smith, Ben

R

15:18

40.9

-1.6

38.9

-3.3

28.6

Bickell, Bryan

L

13:39

33.3

-11.7

30.4

-15.3

90.9

Rozsival, Michal

D

14:22

44.0

2.6

39.1

-3.2

71.4

Bollig, Brandon

L

06:46

10.0

-35.9

10.0

-35.8

0.0

Shaw, Andrew

C

17:22

52.9

16.9

51.7

15.9

100

Hossa, Marian

R

18:04

29.0

-19.4

29.6

-17.6

68.8

Kane, Patrick

R

18:40

53.8

19.9

52.9

19.6

100

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Greene, Matt

D

13:05

48.1

-13.6

45.8

-14.9

45.5

Muzzin, Jake

D

18:35

65.7

12.4

66.7

12.8

46.2

Doughty, Drew

D

21:07

65.7

12.4

65.5

10.8

46.2

Richards, Mike

C

11:43

58.8

1.1

64.3

6.9

50.0

Kopitar, Anze

C

16:25

63.0

7.1

60.9

3.2

30.8

Gaborik, Marian

R

15:56

57.7

-0.3

56.5

-2.8

30.8

Clifford, Kyle

L

10:53

63.2

6.6

66.7

10.0

33.3

Williams, Justin

R

11:34

59.1

1.6

68.4

12.9

33.3

Lewis, Trevor

C

11:14

38.5

-22.5

40.0

-21.1

0.0

Brown, Dustin

L

14:46

66.7

11.7

66.7

10.9

30.8

Voynov, Slava

D

19:17

54.5

-5.1

56.7

-2.9

0.0

Martinez, Alec

D

13:52

69.0

15.9

70.8

17.4

50.0

Stoll, Jarret

C

12:36

45.0

-16.3

47.1

-14.5

0.0

Mitchell, Willie

D

19:59

40.6

-26.0

41.4

-26.5

7.7

Pearson, Tanner

L

14:05

65.5

11.0

63.0

6.6

38.5

Toffoli, Tyler

C

14:32

63.3

7.9

60.7

3.3

45.5

King, Dwight

L

12:09

45.0

-16.3

50.0

-10.6

0.0

Carter, Jeff

C

16:31

56.8

-1.9

53.1

-8.9

42.9

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

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