May 27, 2014, 8:04 AM EST
It was less than a week ago that the Chicago Blackhawks had a 1-0 series lead in the Western Conference Final and were up 2-0 against Los Angeles late in the second period of Game 2. The Kings overcame that deficit with six unanswered goals and haven’t looked back since.
With a 5-2 victory last night, the Kings have a commanding 3-1 series lead for the first time in the playoffs.
We’ve seen them excel with their backs against the wall during their 2014 postseason run. The question now is if Chicago will be able to give them a taste of their own medicine or if the Kings will eliminate the defending Stanley Cup champions just one year after Chicago did the same thing to them.
While the Kings and Blackhawks get ready for a critical Game 5, the Rangers and Canadiens will play in a key contest of their own.
Game 5: Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers [Rangers lead series 3-1] (8:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)
When Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was eliminated from the series after just one game, it was fair to wonder if Montreal’s chances of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final were going with him. In desperation they turned to Dustin Tokarski, a 24-year-old with just 10 games worth of NHL experience, in the hopes that he could at least hold his own against a world-class netminder like New York’s Henrik Lundqvist.
Tokarski has risen to the challenge, but as it turns out, that alone might not be enough to save the Canadiens’ season.
Following the Rangers’ 7-2 blowout victory in Game 1, each game has been decided by two or fewer goals and the last two contests have gone to overtime. However, the fact that the Rangers have been winning by the skin of their teeth doesn’t make the situation any less dire for Montreal.
Martin St. Louis, the overtime hero in Game 4, has been superb and former Canadiens draft pick Ryan McDonagh has frustrated Montreal. Even Rick Nash has finally been clicking finally ended his goal scoring drought earlier in the series.
With the Rangers’ best looking sharp, the stage seems to be set for them to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1994. At the same time, they know how little it would take for everything they’ve built to fall apart.
“This is far from over,” Rangers forward Brad Richards said after Game 4. “I remember sitting in here down 3-1 against Pittsburgh. They will feel bad tonight, but tomorrow they will wake up in front of their home crowd and once that game starts, 3-1, you throw that out the window and it is back in the battle again.
“We have to realize the longer it goes the more life and more belief they get, so it’s going to be a very important start to the next game.”
We’ve seen so many remarkable comebacks already in the 2014 playoffs. Montreal would certainly like to give us another.
Dec 17, 2014, 6:20 PM EST
Hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury Nov. 2.
Dec 17, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
Rivalry Night affair on NBCSN.
Dec 17, 2014, 5:25 PM EST
It’s the first time the league has made a fine public for embellishment.
Dec 17, 2014, 4:53 PM EST
Currently has Calgary in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase.
Dec 17, 2014, 4:23 PM EST
Former Pens coach was on the radio today.
Dec 17, 2014, 4:12 PM EST
Hurt during Tuesday’s 6-2 drubbing in Toronto.
Dec 17, 2014, 3:40 PM EST
Veteran d-man no longer with the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Dec 17, 2014, 3:02 PM EST
Will instead serve in a “player development/consultant role,” and will work out of his Florida home.
Dec 17, 2014, 2:27 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Dec 17, 2014, 1:34 PM EST
That’s 16 documented cases league-wide.
Dec 17, 2014, 1:31 PM EST
Despite four straight losses and the memory of last season.
Dec 17, 2014, 1:23 PM EST
“In every game that he’s played, he hasn’t shown any signs of fatigue.”
Dec 17, 2014, 12:25 PM EST
“When we were winning games, it seemed those chances against would not go in.”
Dec 17, 2014, 12:21 PM EST
Preseason standout now up for grabs.
Dec 17, 2014, 11:57 AM EST
“You just have to find a way to be better so it’s not going to be about one call or one bounce.”
Dec 17, 2014, 11:57 AM EST
Which will make things interesting for both him and the Blue Jackets.
Dec 17, 2014, 11:06 AM EST
Beau Bennett still dealing with effects, Sidney Crosby has “passed the infectious period.”
Dec 17, 2014, 10:47 AM EST
Says the move “reaffirms our vision of becoming an elite organization, both at the NHL and AHL levels.”
Dec 17, 2014, 10:45 AM EST
Both teams are dealing with some adversity right now.
Dec 17, 2014, 9:47 AM EST
“He’s done a tremendous job for us,” Joel Quenneville said.
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