The Boston Bruins have crushed the Pittsburgh Penguins in their first two games. At the pace we’re going, we’re in for a Boston-Chicago finals, but of course, there’s still plenty of hockey left to play in the Conference finals and we might be in for some comebacks.
Los Angeles Kings host Chicago Blackhawks (9:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra)
Chicago leads 2-0
After narrowly winning Game 1, the Chicago Blackhawks took things a step further on Sunday by establishing a big lead early and forcing the Kings to yank goaltender Jonathan Quick.
“I haven’t done my job on the road,” Quick admitted.
The Kings will eventually need to deal with their road woes if they are going to make it to the Stanley Cup finals, but for now they have more urgent matters. Los Angeles is a perfect 7-0 at home in the postseason and the team can’t afford to let that streak end now.
“It’s a lot different playing away from the United Center,” Chicago’s Patrick Sharp told CSN Chicago. “I feel like we’ve been solid on the road the last couple years in the playoffs. The team gets home for that first game, the crowd’s into it, it kind of gives that extra push. We expect L.A. to be good at home. Obviously their record speaks for itself.”
From the Kings perspective, it helps that they’ve already proven that they can come back from a 2-0 deficit. They were in the same situation against the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the 2013 playoffs and responded by winning their next four contests.
“The only difference is we’re in the Western Conference Finals now,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said, according to LA Kings Insider. “With each round there’s a little more pressure. It’s a matter of handling that individually and collectively. We’re back on home ice where we’ve played very well this year.”
The big question mark going into this game in Los Angeles forward Mike Richards. He was a late scratch in Game 2 because of “symptoms” after absorbing a huge hit from Dave Bolland. If Richards is out for any extended period of time, it’s obviously a serious blow, especially given how much trouble the Kings have had scoring goals in the playoffs.
Either way, the Kings have to win, or they’ll find themselves in a position where they’ll need to pull off a historic comeback to get to the Stanley Cup finals.