Previewing tonight’s Western Conference finals matchup and news and notes from Boston’s series-clinching win.
Game 5: #5 Los Angeles Kings at #1 Chicago Blackhawks, 8 p.m. ET (watch on NBC and live online) – Blackhawks lead series, 3-1
The Blackhawks will look to clinch their 12th trip to the Stanley Cup Final when they host the Kings at the United Center. Chicago is 8-1 at home this postseason, while Los Angeles is 1-7 away from home.
As Marian Hossa goes this postseason, so go the Blackhawks. Chicago is 6-0 when Hossa scores a goal, and 10-1 when he registers a point. In Game 4, his goal at 1:10 of the third period provided the winning margin in a 3-2 victory at Staples Center. Bryan Bickell, who leads the Hawks with eight goals this postseason, has at least one point in every game this series (three goals, two assists).
The Kings, who have won their last three Game 5s on the road when facing elimination (2001 and 2002 at Colorado, 2011 at San Jose), will need to increase their sense of urgency if they are to repeat that feat during their Cup defense year, and avoid elimination against the Presidents’ Trophy winners. It starts with captain Dustin Brown and the team’s leading scorer during the regular season, Anze Kopitar, who have combined for zero points and six shots on goal this series. Goaltender Jonathan Quick must also play better than he did during his last appearance at the United Center (Game 2), when he allowed four goals on only 17 shots and was pulled after 9:20 of the second period.
Duncan Keith, who leads all Blackhawks defensemen with ten points (one goal, nine assists), will return to the lineup after a one-game suspension for high-sticking Jeff Carter in the face in Game 3. Carter’s regular linemate, Mike Richards, will miss his fourth consecutive game with concussion-like symptoms.
If the Blackhawks win, they will claim the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl for the second time in four seasons and host Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final vs. the Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins. If the Kings win, the series will return to Los Angeles for Game 6 on Monday evening, on NBCSN.
DID YOU KNOW?
22 of Marian Hossa’s 43 career postseason goals (51.2%) have put his team ahead in a game. Among players with 40+ goals, only Stephane Richer (29 of 53, 54.7%), Dale Hunter (22 of 42, 52.4%) and Mike Modano (30 of 58, 51.7%) have a higher percentage of goals that put their teams in the lead. (Elias)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Boston 1, Pittsburgh 0 (Boston wins series, 4-0)
The Boston Bruins finished a stunning sweep of the #1-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins with Friday’s 1-0 victory. Adam McQuaid scored his second goal of this postseason 5:01 into the 3rd period. It was the 15th goal of the postseason by a Bruins’ defensemen, most by any team in the 2013 playoffs. Goaltender Tuukka Rask made 24 saves for his second shutout of the series.
It is the Bruins 19th Stanley Cup Final appearance, and second in the last three seasons. For right wing Jaromir Jagr, it will be his third Cup Final, his first since 1992, when he was a member of the Penguins.
Meanwhile, the Penguins were swept in a series for the first time since 1979, when the Bruins defeated them in four games in the NHL Quarterfinals. Pittsburgh was shut out twice in a series for the first time since the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, and after going a combined 13-for-46 (28.3%) on the power play in the first two rounds, Dan Bylsma’s crew was held without a goal on 15 chances with the man advantage in the conference final.
Rask and the Bruins defense were near historic. They allowed just two goals in their series against the highest-scoring team in the regular season (3.38 goals/game) and first two rounds (4.27). Boston tied for the second-fewest goals allowed in a playoff series of 4 games or more. (Elias).
FEWEST GOALS ALLOWED IN A SERIES OF 4 GAMES OR MORE
|2003, WCF||Mighty Ducks||
|Wild||Anaheim won, 4-0|
|Penguins||Boston won, 4-0|
|Flyers||Ottawa won, 4-1|
|1952, SCF||Red Wings||
|Canadiens||Detroit won, 4-0|
|1935, SF||Maple Leafs||
|Bruins||Toronto won, 3-1|
WCF = Western Conference Final ECQF/ECF = Eastern Conference Quarterfinals/Final
SCF = Stanley Cup Final SF = NHL Semifinal
DID YOU KNOW?
Three of the four goal-scorers in 1-0 games this postseason have been defensemen.
|Goal-scorer||Team||Game, Time of goal||Opponent||Winning goaltender|
|Mike Green (D)||Capitals||ECQF, Game 2, 8:00 (OT)||Rangers||Braden Holtby|
|Slava Voynov (D)||Kings||WCQF, Game 3, 4:56 (2nd)||Blues||Jonathan Quick|
|Derick Brassard||Rangers||ECQF, Game 6, 9:39 (2nd)||Capitals||Henrik Lundqvist|
|Adam McQuaid (D)||Bruins||ECF, Game 4, 5:01 (3rd)||Penguins||Tuukka Rask|
WCQF = Western Conference Quarterfinals ECQF = Eastern Conference Quarterfinals ECF = Eastern Conference Final
- Corey Crawford gives Blackhawks a chance to win every night [Globe and Mail]
- Chicago has gone from “Big Buff” to “Bicks” in three years [CSN Chicago]
- Michal Rozsival helps keep clamp on Kings [Chicago Sun Times]
- Adam McQuaid: From hospital bed to hero [Boston Herald]
- Jaromir Jagr full of perspective as sacrifices rewarded with trip to Cup Final [NESN]
- Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin silenced again in season-ending loss [Pittsburgh Tribune]