By Brad Vandenberk
There is not a lot that needs to be said heading into this Game 7 between the Hawks and Kings. Momentum has been on either side this series, but the Hawks are riding a 2-game winning streak coming back from a 3-1 series deficit.
The Kings are no strangers to a game 7 on the road, as well as how you can build momentum coming from behind in a series. The Kings are looking to make history. With a victory, they can be the first team to win their first 3 series in game 7 on the road. It’s time for the Hawks to prove to their fans that this team does smell of a dynasty and use all your experience and get a win.
Corey Crawford played a huge game in LA on Friday night and hoped to keep that in this game. At the other end Jonathan Quick had his follies last game when Ben Smith banked one off the tenders skate and in the net. Kris Versteeg worked his way back on the ice replacing Sheldon Brookbank.
Bickell Toews Hossa Keith Hjalmarsson
Sharp Kruger Smith Oduya Seabrook
Saad Shaw Kane Leddy Rozsival
Bollig Handzus Versteeg
There was some hesitation to start the opening period between both teams. Marian Gaborik finds himself wide open in front of the net but the puck jumps over his stick. Kings begin to pour it on. Crawford makes an early save to get the fans on his side. Dwight King lays out Johnny Oduya. Michal Handzus and Michal Rozsival break in on a 2 on 1 and can’t get a shot on.
Hawks begin to put on the pressure, Duncan Keith fires a shot wide and the puck stays in the zone. Patrick Kane gets the puck behind the net and finds Brandon Saad who banks it in off Quick again from behind the goal line 1-0.
After the goal the Hawks come right back at the Kings trying to put this one out of reach early. Justin Williams gets called for the games first penalty when he trips Rozsival. The power play goes to work right away. Brent Seabrook sends a shot on net, it deflects off Kane’s stick and finds a wide open Jonathan Toews who puts it into the wide open cage 2-0.
The Kings begin to swarm Crawford after the whistles even knocking his helmet off. Kings get their first power play when Seabrook heads off for cross checking. The Hawks kill off the man advantage blocking all kinds of shots. At the 3:29 mark, the Kings solve Crawford. Jeff Carter taps home a rebound 2-1. It does go to a review to see just how high Carter’s stick was. It seemed to be right at the bar 2-1.
1:01 later the Kings tie the game. The Hawks scramble in front of their net and Williams grabs a rebound beating Crawford.
Just 12 seconds later Patrick Sharp gets the monkey off his back sending a floater on Quick and it hops over his shoulder 3-2. Crawford finishes the period with some strong saves and the Hawks lead the Kings 11-7 in shots on net.
The second period starts off right where the first left off. Both teams exchange chances and the Hawks begin to push the momentum back to their side. Andrew Shaw takes a high stick or elbow to the face and heads to the bench. There was no call on the play.
Mike Richards makes his way to the penalty box for hooking Kane, but the Hawks can’t add to their lead. Tyler Toffoli ties the game for the Kings when Handzus blocks a shot and similar to Toews wide open net it was Toffoli’s time to capitalize 3-3.
Willie Mitchell starts a trend of penalties hitting Marcus Kruger from behind and is charged for boarding. 46 seconds left on the power play Drew Doughty cross checked Shaw in front of the net and the Hawks get a 5 on 3. Marian Hossa gets the best chance to bury but shoots wide.
As the 5 on 3 comes to an end, Saad breaks Carter’s stick with a slash and we get to see some 4 on 4 hockey. The shot blockers were out again making it hard for a Kings’ pucks to find the net. 2:45 remaining, the Hawks get their 5th power play of the game when Trevor Lewis holds Shaw during 2 on 1 shot attempt.
During the power play Sharp fires a point shot and it deflects off Muzzin beating Quick 4-3. The period ends with the Hawks outshooting the Kings 23-15.
Kane shows glimmer of his show time abilities dancing a puck around his feet forcing the Kings to watch. Crawford gets a high shot from Tanner Pearson which seems to sting him up high. Kruger has a great opportunity in front, point blank, but Quick makes the save. Slava Voynov sends another high shot on Crawford who struggles again, after the ref retrieves the puck. Saad break out of the corner and makes a strong move toward the net sending a backhand on Quick.
Kings begin to shift the momentum in their favour and Marian Gaborik is stopped by Crawford. Bryan Bickell finds himself all alone over the blue line but he decides to pass the puck behind him to a streaking Hossa, the puck doesn’t make it through and the crowd lets Bickell know about it. Kruger and Smith break in on a 2 on 1 with Smith shooting. Versteeg gets a wide open chance in front and gets hit before taking a shot.
The Kings gain the zone and Gaborik grabs a loose puck and flips it over Crawford, tying the game with 7:17 left to play.
Kings come right back at the Hawks after they score trying to end this before the Hawks have a chance to. Saad is playing like he’s on a mission. He spots Shaw who is wide open in front but Quick is there. Saad gets rewarded for his play moving up playing with Toews and Hossa. It was only for 1 shift. Bickell is reunited with Toews and Hossa and that line gives the Kings panic. Hossa gets a chance on his own rebound. You can tell that Sharp wants his hat trick using his speed up and down the wings. Keith gets a great chance in the slot but fails to get the shot off. As the period ends, Kane has a great chance to put a rebound home off a Shaw shot. Quick gobbles the puck up and this game heads to overtime.
The Hawks aren’t afraid to get their defensemen involved when Keith is right on top of Quick off a Hossa rebound. Sharp again breaks in on a 3 on 1 now and can’t get his pass across.
Hjalmarsson gives the puck away right in the slot and both teams are feeling affects of the nervous overtime feeling. Anze Kopitar and Toews continue to battle at all ends of the ice. Sharp is a magnet for this puck having it for his full shift. Nick Leddy has a great chance from the point but Quick makes the save. Kane begins to move his feet causing the Kings to chase him around the zone. This forces the Kings to ice the puck. For some reason Handzus and Versteeg hope the boards and line up with Kane.
At the 14:13 mark of overtime, heart attack ensues. Alec Martinez shoots a puck on net and Leddy deflects it right over Crawford and into the net ending the Hawks 2014 season with a 5-4 loss in overtime in game 7.
-Hawks outshot Kings 41-32
-Hawks go 2/5 on the power play, Kings go 0/2.
-Keith led the Hawks in TOI with 32:12, Hjalmarsson was next with 25:48
-Toews went 17/31 in the faceoff dot, Kruger 9/11, Shaw 4/9, Handzus 4/8
-Congratulations to the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings for making the 2014 Stanley Cup Final and big Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for a great 2014 season.