Observations From Section 321 : The Quick And The Dead

The Blackhawks advance to the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-3 double overtime win over the Kings.

The Hawks sure didn't make it easy on our tickers, but they are now the 2013 Western Conference champions. They blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2, but now have a date with the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night. For the next 3 days we are going hear about how big and physical the Bruins are and how great their goaltender is. Boy, that sounds like everything that was said about the Kings just over a week ago.

The Blackhawks dominated the opening period and Jonathan Quick did not do himself any favors. Duncan Keith got the scoring started by scoring on a slap shot from the blue line. Quick just had one of those unexplainable goalie brain farts as the puck went right between his legs. A couple of minutes later, Quick assumed there was an icing call coming but the linesman was clearly waiving it off. The puck came back out in front of the net and Patrickl Kane was able to take advantage of plenty of space and a sprawled out goaltender. The Hawks had a 2-0 less than 6 minutes into the game and talks about the Bruins were starting, but the Kings were far from done.

The Kings were able to get back into the game as Dwight King was able to convert on a short handed rush with Justin Williams. They were able to take advantage of Patrick Sharp playing the point and he did not look very good trying to play defense on his way back. This is the exact play that makes me loathe putting a forward on the point during a power play.

The Kings would tie the game early in the 3rd period with a power play goal. Jeff Carter shot a blast from the point and Corey Crawford gave up a rare rebound. Anze Kopitar was there to put in the game tying goal and put to rest the rumors that he had been kidnapped. Kaner scored his 2nd goal of the game to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead with just 3:52 left in the game. There was some debate on whether the turnover behind the Kings net was caused by Bryan Bickell tripping Justin Williams. The replay showed very minimal contact from Bickell's stick, so the lesson learned is sometimes selling a call will bite you in the ass.

With the United Center ready to celebrate, the Kings but the party plans on hold when they tied the game with just 9 seconds left in regulation. Bickell iced the puck and Darryl Sutter was able to use his timeout to draw up a set play. Jonathan Toews was unable to win the draw and the Kings put their plan in motion. Kopitar shot the puck from the boards and Mike Richards was in front of the net to deflect the puck past Crawford.

The opening ten minutes of the first overtime period was pretty wide open with both teams getting some chances. The second half of the period settled down a bit but neither team could push the game winning goal past the opposing goalies. At 11:40 of the second overtime Patrick Kane would light the lamp for the third time and send the Hawks to the Stanley Cup Final. Slava Voynov got caught pinching in and it lead to a 2 on 1 going the other way with Kaner and Jonathan Toews. Not many goalies have faced a 2 on 1 with DDN and lived to talk about. Toews got the puck across to Kaner who buried a one time laser past Quick's glove for the win.

* So the Patrick Kane is invisible talk can stop now, huh? When he scores playoff hat tricks team's seasons end. One thing that can be said about Kaner is he has that killer instinct and lives for the big moments. Last night was the type of game he strives to make the big play in. Add it to the list that includes the 2010 Olympic Gold Medal game, Game 5 versus the Predators and of course the Stanley Cup winning goal versus the Flyers. I think it is safe to say that Toews and Kane will remain together in the Final, they have been spectacular since being reunited in Game 4.

* If Dustin Brown wasn't completely useless in this series. His knack for selling a call did come in handy for the Kings at times. But Captain America finished Game 5 as a -3. Woof!

* The Hawks power play is still clown shoes. Can we somehow get the power play back we saw in Games 5 and 6 against the Red Wings?

* The turning point of the game seemed to be when Andrew Shaw tried to put a big hit on Mike Richards in the 2nd period. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing bad about the hit. It was a clean hit and Shaw did a good job of not taking a penalty while being goaded by Kyle Clifford. It was right after this that the Kings seemed to wake up and start laying the body on the Hawks more often. It was less than 4 minutes later the Kings got on the board.

* Even though it's still too early there has been talk of who from the Hawks could win the Conn Smythe. Obviously Bryan Bickell's name is on the list but he has not been better than Corey Crawford. One guy who should get some consideration is Niklas Hjalmarrson. He won't win it because he doesn't do the glamorous things that make the highlight reels. He has been so good at blocking shots, getting into passing lanes and using his stick to pry away pucks. Hjammer has come a long way from being a disappointment after signing his contract extension to being a very important piece to this team.

Blackhawks Corsi Numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Duncan Keith D 35:35 32 22 +10 +1 +10
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 30:35 13 22 -9 0 -9
Brent Seabrook D 31:08 29 22 +7 +1 +7
Nick Leddy D 17:51 11 12 -1 -3 +0
Patrick Sharp R 20:46 11 12 -1 +1 -1
Marcus Kruger C 21:44 13 21 -8 -2 -7
Jonathan Toews C 26:42 22 21 +1 -2 +2
Brandon Saad L 17:29 11 10 +1 -2 +2
Viktor Stalberg L 14:57 11 8 +3 0 +3
Michal Handzus C 20:20 8 13 -5 0 -5
Johnny Oduya D 31:34 13 28 -15 0 -15
Bryan Bickell L 24:16 18 18 0 -2 +1
Michal Rozsival D 23:17 14 18 -4 -3 -3
Dave Bolland C 24:38 16 25 -9 0 -9
Andrew Shaw C 15:26 13 5 +8 -2 +9
Michael Frolik R 22:18 14 21 -7 +1 -7
Marian Hossa R 19:43 10 12 -2 +1 -2
Patrick Kane R 26:41 21 20 +1 +1 +1

Kings Corsi Numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Matt Greene D 23:12 11 21 -10 -1 -10
Jake Muzzin D 21:51 17 17 0 +2 -1
Rob Scuderi D 34:49 24 20 +4 -2 +5
Drew Doughty D 31:53 20 17 +3 +3 +2
Mike Richards C 23:05 9 18 -9 +1 -9
Anze Kopitar C 23:06 20 16 +4 0 +4
Kyle Clifford L 17:10 8 14 -6 +1 -6
Justin Williams R 25:23 22 18 +4 +1 +4
Trevor Lewis C 19:26 15 6 +9 +1 +9
Dustin Brown L 23:37 17 18 -1 +1 -1
Dustin Penner R 22:28 17 17 0 0 0
Slava Voynov D 30:42 32 18 +14 0 +14
Jarret Stoll C 19:33 16 8 +8 +1 +8
Robyn Regehr D 27:45 20 19 +1 +2 +0
Jordan Nolan C 17:37 10 16 -6 +1 -6
Tyler Toffoli C 16:32 13 11 +2 0 +2
Dwight King L 21:28 19 8 +11 0 +11
Jeff Carter C 25:29 21 18 +3 -1 +3