The Blackhawks picked up their third straight all-decade honor Saturday by NHL.com and NHL.com International staff members with the 2014 Western Conference Final against the Kings being named the playoff series of the decade.
The series pitted the last two Stanley Cup champions against each other in a rematch of the previous season’s Western Conference Final, which Chicago won in five games. In the 2014 series, the Kings built a 3-1 lead before the Blackhawks won the next two games to force a winner-take-all Game 7, which went to overtime.
Chicago won Game 1 and had a 2-0 lead 1:40 into the second period in Game 2 before the Kings scored six unanswered goals, including a hat trick by Jeff Carter, for Los Angeles to tie the series with a 6-2 win. The Kings won the next two games in Los Angeles, 4-3 in Game 3 and 5-2 in Game 4 for a 3-1 series lead.
Michal Ben Smith scored 1:17 into the third to force overtime, and Michal Handzus scored 2:04 into the second overtime to keep the Blackhawks alive with a 5-4 win in Game 5 at the United Center. Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane scored in the third to help Chicago rally for a 4-3 victory in Game 6 at Staples Center to send the series back to Chicago.
Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews built a 2-0 lead 8:36 into the game, but the Kings cut the lead in half on a controversial goal where Carter appeared to be offside. Justin Williams tied it 2-2 before Patrick Sharp gave Chicago a two-goal lead again with two goals for a 4-3 lead. But Marian Gaborik pounced on a rebound at 12:43 of the third to send the game. Alec Martinez’s wrist shot from the left point deflected off Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy and over Corey Crawford’s shoulder for a 5-4 win to send the Kings to the 2014 Cup Final, which they won in five games against the New York Rangers.
Jan. 16: Coach of the Decade — Joel Quenneville
Jan. 17: Franchise of the Decade — Chicago Blackhawks
Jan. 18: Playoff Series of the Decade: 2014 Western Conference Final, Blackhawks vs. Kings
Jan. 19: Game of the Decade
Jan. 20: Event of the Decade
Jan. 21: Moment of the Decade
Jan. 22: Goal of the Decade
Jan 24: First and Second All-Decade Team (5:30 p.m. NBCSN)