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The Morning Skate: Can Chicago keep up Quick pressure?

Jun 2, 2013, 10:51 AM EDT

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 1: Goalie Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings catches the puck as Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks watches in the background in Game One of the Western Conference Final during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on June 01, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

A quick look at the Western Conference finals and notes from Boston’s win over Pittsburgh.

Game 2: #5 Los Angeles Kings at #1 Chicago Blackhawks, 8 p.m. ET (on NBCSN and live online)Blackhawks lead series, 1-0

In Game 1 last night, the Blackhawks learned that perimeter shooting and net-front presence are the key ingredients to beating Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. Midway through the second period, Patrick Sharp scored off a rebound of a Johnny Oduya slapshot – his league-leading eighth goal of the postseason – and Marian Hossa redirected a Duncan Keith shot from the point less than four minutes later, to lift the Blackhawks past the Kings, 2-1, at the United Center.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville jumbled the top two forward lines before the game, matching the burly Bryan Bickell with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp with Michal Handzus and Patrick Kane. The team responded quickly, outshooting the Kings 17-2 in the first period. For the game, the lines each contributed a goal on a combined 17 shots on goal. Look for those lines to remain intact for Game 2.

The Kings, who came in as the top-hitting team in the league, outhit the Blackhawks, 44-38, in Game 1. However, it was the Blackhawks who seemed to have the more effective hits. Mike Richards took a hard check from Dave Bolland in the last two minutes, and did not return for the final rush. Despite not talking with reporters after the game, Richards is not expected to miss any action. Coach Darryl Sutter quipped in his postgame press conference that he saw his second-line center “arguing with a ref” after the hit.

Jarret Stoll returned to the Kings’ lineup for the first time since Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals (upper-body injury), and won 10-of-19 faceoffs.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Kings fell to 1-6 on the road this postseason (lone win: Game 6 in St. Louis), after going 10-1 during last season’s Stanley Cup run. All six losses have been by 2-1 margins. Their last loss in the 2012 Stanley Cup Final vs. the New Jersey Devils was also by that score.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Boston 3, Pittsburgh 0 (Bruins lead series, 1-0)

David Krejci scored two goals – his sixth and seventh of the postseason – to extend his lead in the NHL scoring race (19 points), and Tuukka Rask stopped all 29 Penguins shots for his first-career postseason shutout, as the Bruins took Game 1 in Pittsburgh, 3-0.

The “HuLK Line” of Nathan HortonMilan Lucic – Krejci continued their torrid scoring pace this postseason, combining for all three goals and three assists. That trio now has 45 points (16 goals), more than each of the the high-flying Penguins’ top two lines, Chris KunitzSidney CrosbyPascal Dupuis (34 points, 18 goals) and James NealEvgeni MalkinJarome Iginla (38 points, 14 goals). The Bruins also won 32-of-48 faceoffs (66.7%), led by Patrice Bergeron (10-for-16) and Chris Kelly (9-for-12), while Crosby (6-for-17), Malkin (one-for-six) and Brandon Sutter (three-for-ten) did not fare as well.

After a week off for both teams following five-game conference semifinal wins, the Penguins tried to set the tone on the physical side. However, the rugged dimension didn’t seem to favor the Pens’ style, and after Matt Cooke took a major penalty for a check from behind on Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid early in the second period, they seemed to lose all offensive flow. (They had only 16 shots on goal in the final 28:28.) Malkin showed his frustration, going after Bergeron at center ice at the end of the second period, while Crosby confronted Rask, then got in an extended shouting match with Zdeno Chara.

In the postgame press conference, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said he thought his stars should not have let emotions get the better of them: “That’s not something we certainly want to be into. [We] don’t want to make the game that way.  We want to play five-on-five.”

Not only did the Bruins seize home-ice advantage in the best-of-seven series. They also snapped an eight-game playoff losing streak to the Penguins. Game 2 is in Pittsburgh on Monday evening, on NBCSN.

DID YOU KNOW?

It was the first time in 97 games over exactly 16 months (February 1, 2012 at Toronto) that the Penguins were shut out, and the first time in 75 games (April 27, 2011 vs. Tampa Bay) that they were blanked on home ice.

Sidney Crosby, who was a -2 during 24:21 of ice time, was shadowed by Patrice Bergeron during 14 of 18 even-strength shifts (TSN). The Pens captain, who played without a face guard under his visor for the first time since breaking his jaw on March 30, was also called for interference on Bergeron in the first period, one of two minor penalties on the night.

LINKS

  • Blackhawks will adjust to quick turnaround [CSN Chicago]
  • Kings on a different road than 2012 [L.A. Times]
  • Sidney Crosby says inconsistent officiating “escalated” physical play [NESN]
  • Reformed Matt  Cooke has relapse in Eastern Conference Final opener [CBC]
  • David Krejci keeps piling up points in big games [Boston Herald]
  • Bruins mess with good thing by bringing back Andrew Ference, and it works [Boston Herald]
  • Healthy scratches feel a part of Penguins’ run [Pittsburgh Tribune]
  1. blomfeld - Jun 2, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    DID YOU KNOW ?

    - Toews, Kane, Sharp and Hossa are all ‘card carrying’ communists !
    - Quenneville is a compulsive liar and he counts Mike Smith as one of his best friends !
    - There’s actually 12 x identical Sedin brothers in total and 9 of them live in the Chicago area !
    - Government sources reveal that 44.6% of Blackhawk fans have criminal records !
    - A recent Bloomberg survey found that 82.5% of Blackhawk fans couldn’t name all 5 Great Lakes !

    *** This message is intended for fans of the reigning Stanley Cup Champions only ***

    “IT’S OKAY … WE’VE GOT ‘EM RIGHT WHERE WE WANT ‘EM” …

    Friends, I think we can all agree that yesterday was hardly a surprise eh ? I mean seriously, how are we supposed to travel all that way from the coast with ‘little or no’ rest and be expected to ‘thrash’ the Hawks right from the start ? Those people have been ‘lounging’ about there for days, while we Kings were forced to literally ‘race’ via taxi from O’Hare (ORD) to the United Center. Even still we almost won, thanks to the stellar play of the ‘greatest’ goalie on the planet ! We luv u Quickie ! :) Anyway, tonight the Hawks are in for one big surprise. We’ll be rested, prepped and ready to give ‘em hell ! Look for our scoring machine to finally go ‘berserk’ on Crawford and then when he’s pulled, the same thing on Emery ! I’d love for us to get into double digits on these bastards and God willing, I think we just might … :)

    my prediction: Kings by a ‘touchdown” ! … GO KINGS GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ps: apparently it was thanks to some stupid Stone’s concert that we’re being forced to play every five minutes there in Chicago ? … what a joke eh ?

    • blackhawksdynasty - Jun 2, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      Wow. Have you been hibernating in your mom’s basement since last season? Welcome to 2013, where the kings are far from kings. Bad-mouth Chicago all you want, it shows you have no class and no intellect. Enjoy the last few LA games of the season and book your tee times. In the meantime, I can’t wait to use my tickets for the Stanley Cup Finals, game one, in the greatest city in the world – Chicago.

  2. blackhawks1982 - Jun 2, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    ^^^^^^^^^^^ Really Unstable to say the least^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  3. hautehockey - Jun 2, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Where is JR?!! ‘Color’ is not as colorful. The playoffs deserve more than 3 talking heads.

  4. pditech1 - Jun 3, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    What do you expect from the land of fruits and nuts.

    Go Hawks

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