For the second time in as many years, Chicago is down 3-1 in a playoff series. In 2013 it was against the Detroit Red Wings in the second round and the Blackhawks still ended up winning the Stanley Cup. This time it’s the Los Angeles Kings standing in their way, but they’re hoping the result will be the same.
“Why can’t we do it again?” Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane asked, per LA Kings Insider. “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.
“We have to have that confidence of trying to win the next game and see what happens.”
Kane gave the Kings credit for pushing them this far, but he still has faith in his teammates and he’s not alone.
“We’re a good team,” defenseman Duncan Keith said. “It’s just we have to find a way when we get that lead to keep that lead and just go from there. … It’s not easy, but it wouldn’t be worth winning the Stanley Cup without going through adversity.
“I don’t think any team that gets this far or ends up winning it, goes through a playoff without having to deal with adversity. This is our chance to do it.”
Los Angeles has already proved itself in that regard, overcoming 3-0 and 3-2 series deficits against the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks respectively. Chicago has been challenged in the 2014 postseason too, but this is the first time that the Blackhawks have been pushed to the brink of elimination.
One key for Chicago will be to get more out of Kane, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp, who have combined for just one goal in this series. As deep as the Blackhawks are, it’s hard to see them rebounding without that trio breaking out.
If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.
Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).
Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:
1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP
Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:
Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.
Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings
As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.
For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.
They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.
The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.
On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.
It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.
This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.
That’s impressive stuff.
This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:
The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.