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PHT Morning Skate: Chicago looks to follow Montreal’s example

May 28, 2014, 8:06 AM EDT

Patrick Kane Getty Images

The New York Rangers’ first opportunity to eliminate the Montreal Canadiens couldn’t have turned out much worse for them.

After allowing no more than three goals in each of his previous seven contests, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was chased from Game 5. He turned aside just 15 of 19 shots, although his replacement, Cam Talbot, was no better.

Montreal overcame a second period comeback attempt from the Rangers en route to a 7-4 victory that reduced the series deficit to 3-2. The game also featured its fair share of controversy, as has become the standard in this series.

With one series extended, Chicago will do its best to follow in Montreal’s footsteps.

Game 5: Los Angeles Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks [Los Angeles leads series 3-1] (8:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

A year ago, Los Angeles’ defense of its championship was thwarted by the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. That moment has stuck with Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.

“It was a frustrating time,” Doughty told the Los Angeles Times. “I wanted to win that Cup again so bad along with all the other guys on my team. It hurts when you can’t get what you want and what you want back.

“It really gave me the drive, even more of ‘the want’ to beat this team just because they did take our season away last year and it’s our turn to do it back to them.”

After a lot of hard work, he finally has the opportunity to put the Blackhawks through exactly what he dealt with, but the completion of his poetic revenge won’t come easy. Chicago has been down this road before — not against the Kings mind you, but the Blackhawks did find themselves behind 3-1 against Detroit in 2013 and they fought back.

“Why can’t we do it again?” Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane asked. “It’s tough in the position we’re in now. But at the same time, we still feel good about our team in here and we all know that we’ve done it before.”

If the Blackhawks are to pull off another comeback, they will need more from Kane. He helped lead them past St. Louis and Minnesota, but the Kings have held him to just one assist in the Western Conference Final. To be fair though, Kane isn’t the only one that’s had a hard time beating goaltender Jonathan Quick.

The other two members of Chicago’s top line, Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell, weren’t exactly great in Chicago’s 5-2 loss on Monday, which is troubling as Chicago needs its first line to dominate to make uniting Toews and Kane worth the hit in depth.

The Blackhawks do have a great cast build around Toews and Kane, but they haven’t shown up so far. Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa have combined for just one goal in this series.

If any of those guys start to click though, the Kings will be in for a fight. Certainly, they’re anticipating a strong effort from Chicago tonight.

“I think we’re in a good place in terms of understanding that we’re playing a really good hockey team, knowing full well we’ll get the full charge tomorrow night,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said, per LA Kings Insider. “We’ll have to be ready for it.”

  1. comeonnowguys - May 28, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    Agreed, but Chicago needs more from players other than Kane and Toews. If they’re going to 3v1 Kane, and you’re that all-star team everyone raves about, your other players need to make them pay for that.

    Personally, I’d be rather shocked if Chicago didn’t win tonight. Whether that’s that “wake-up call” two games later than it should have been or simply a dead cat bounce remains to be seen.

    This season has shown that Keith pretty much deserves the Norris (this year). Sure, Seabrook has racked up points this offseason, but Keith has been covering for his brain farts for most of the year, and when he can’t–see Game 4–it’s not pretty.

    Also, should Chicago lose in this series, at least that will derail StanBo’s “don’t mess up a working chemistry to try for a second-line center” mantra.

    • McFaddensPulledHammy - May 28, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      I was rather shocked at the performance in Game 4. I thought they would come out better. They didn’t even attempt to match the intensity the Kings displayed.

      It hurts me to say this, and I’ve been wrong before, but they look dead. They are in a funk and the Kings are not letting them out of it. What they need is what Montreal did last night and that’s put up a 6 or 7 goal night. Whether or not they have it in them or the Kings take their foot off the gas is a different story.

      Funny you say that about StanBo. Coach Stache toys with the lines in the playoffs anyway so chemistry during the regular season means nothing. I think not adding a second line center was more about getting through this year without having a big cap number and planning for the Kane-Toews max extensions coming up. I think they are hoping Regin or Shaw can step into the #2 center spot.

      • comeonnowguys - May 28, 2014 at 10:54 AM

        I like both Regin and Shaw, I just don’t think they are the guys.

        I was more referring to overall chemistry, because as you so rightly pointed out, Q throws everyone into a blender five minutes in.

        I still like their lack of panic–I think their lack of urgency is troubling. Personally, I think only a 3-0/4-0 shutout will make it a series, derailing LA’s momentum a bit and backing up the Hawks’ confidence.

    • slysipops - May 28, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      you could have stopped with …they need more from KANE ……….. and ALL the rest too …of course ! enough of empty statements ….. the time for action has nearly passed by ! ….NO GUTS …NO GLORY !

  2. Jackson Scofield - May 28, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    Losing a series 4-2 looks better than losing it 4-1 anyway. Hoping and not giving up, but not expecting any real form of series comeback… at least I’ll finally be able to shave if we don’t, so I guess there is always a bright side.

  3. comeonnowguys - May 28, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    Nevermind. Bollig is apparently in.

    Time to book a tee time.

    And learn how to golf.

    • r8rbhawk - May 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      Where did you catch that tidbit that Bollig is in?

      • comeonnowguys - May 28, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      • r8rbhawk - May 28, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        Thanks dude

  4. McFaddensPulledHammy - May 28, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    So apparently Coach Stache wants Sharp and Kane to get shut out. Again. I do like the Shaw move to line 2 so he can try to get physical with Carter.

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