Playoff Threeview: Chicago & LA
1. Blackhawks 36-7-5 (77 points, 1st in Central, 1st in Conference III) vs. 5. Kings (27-16-5, 59 points, 2nd in Pacific)
Season Series— Blackhawks 2-1-0 (Including the first game of the season, which included this interminable Stanley Cup ceremony)
Playoff Leaders— Blackhawks: Patrick Sharp (7G, 4A, 11 Points), Marian Hossa (5G, 6A, 11 Points), Patrick Kane (7A), Bryan “Bingo” Bickell (27.8 SH%), Michael “Freek-A-Lik” Frolik (1 SHG) Kings: Mike Richards (2G, 8A, 10 Points), Jeff Carter (5G), Slava Voynov (3G, all GWG, 21.1 SH%, +7)
Probable Goalies: Blackhawks: Corey Crawford (8-4, .938, 1.70); Kings: Jonathan Quick 8-5, .948, 1.50)
Words & Music
“I think every team this year based on the Blackhawks start this season, everybody prepared at some point to play the Blackhawks because they knew they were going to be a home ice team. That’s what everybody did, not just us.” — Kings coach Darryl Sutter, via Mayor’s Manor.
Can our song be anything except “Blackhawks Over Los Angeles” by Strung Out?
Locks & Keys
While many prognosticators — especially after Game One — assumed the Blackhawks would make short work of the Red Wings, I knew the Auld Enemy would put up a fight, predicting the Blackhawks in six. That the series went seven is largely a reflection on the star forwards on the ‘Hawks being incapable of getting much going — Jonathan Toews, to use the most obvious example, has just one goal, four less than Brian Bickell of all people.
The Big Tough Kings™ will count on Jonathan Quick to keep the scoring down while the Big Tough Forwards™ try to wear down the speedy and skilled ‘Hawks.
Of course, this is a match-up of the last two Western Conference teams to lift Lord Stanley, just as the Eastern final is for that retrograde conference. Storylines abound!
If home-ice means anything, Chicago should be OK, if and only if they can get the often-moribund power play to be merely average.
Call & Response
I like Chicago in seven. The Tribune’s Chris Kuc goes the other way.