In two straight games, the Chicago Blackhawks have been unable to protect leads against the Los Angeles Kings. In two consecutive third periods, the Kings have absolutely outclassed their conference final opponents.
They didn’t score six unanswered goals this time around, yet the Kings clearly pulled away in another contest, beating the Blackhawks 4-3 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead.
Can’t get Carter
The Blackhawks have some questions to answer, and they might just start with “How do we stop ‘That 70’s Line?'”
The combination of Jeff Carter (No. 77), Tanner Pearson (No. 70) and Tyler Toffoli (No. 73) proved overwhelming for the Blackhawks once more.
Carter scored the 2-2 goal and finished with three points:
While Toffoli’s 3-2 tally was an absolute beauty:
Carter, 29, has quite the run going. He has seven points in his last two games, a five-game point streak (five goals, five assists) and 19 postseason points overall. Toffoli, 22 and Pearson, 21, have four-game point streaks of their own.
Remember when people were worried that the Blackhawks would be doomed by Corey Crawford’s glove hand? The 29-year-old netminder has allowed nine goals in these two defeats after posting three consecutive one-goal wins. If nothing else, Crawford can look to Jonathan Quick’s first-round struggles to see that it isn’t too late to turn things around.
One Blackhawks player who won’t receive much heat is Jonathan Toews. “Captain Serious” scored Chicago’s two most relevant goals (Patrick Sharp made it 4-3 in the waning seconds):
More than Crawford’s numbers and a struggling power play, the Blackhawks have to be concerned about finishing strong. The Kings generated an 18-7 third period shot advantage despite entering the final frame with a lead.
Chicago wasted a great Toews performance on Saturday. Things could get awfully tense if his teammates don’t start to pick it up soon.