What a hockey game we just witnessed.
The Chicago Blackhawks have forced a Game 7 in the Western Conference Final by beating the L.A. Kings by a final score of 4-3 on Friday. It was back-and-forth. There was heavy hitting. There was an exchange of pleasantries between goalies Corey Crawford and Jonathan Quick. And there was star power. No, not the celebs in the seats of the Staples Center.
We’re talking Drew Doughty. And Patrick Kane. Those two players themselves went shot-for-shot in the third period.
The Kings, needing a win to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in three years, entered the third period down a goal. But they responded, and took the lead with two goals in 2:06 early, thanks to the brilliance of Doughty, who tied the game and then showed strength, finesse and guts by setting up Alec Martinez to give L.A. a 3-2 lead.
After going the first three games of this series without a point, Kane has been on fire in the last three games. He set up Keith to get Chicago on even terms less than four minutes after L.A. took the third-period lead. Then, the shifty and highly skilled Blackhawks forward gave his team the lead, beating Quick with a wrist shot after evading the coverage of Marian Gaborik.
In the last three games, Kane has eight points. And the Blackhawks have forced a deciding game after trailing in this series 3-1. Meanwhile, it will mark the third time in these playoffs the Kings have played in a Game 7.
It was a remarkable display between the two teams on Friday. It’s not over. They’ll meet one last time this spring on Sunday, as they battle for a berth in the championship series and the chance to face the New York Rangers.
When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.
The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.
Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.
Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.
If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.
Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.
(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)
You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …
… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.
It remains to be seen if the Ottawa Senators can avoid losing against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but either way, it’s been a costly night.
The Senators saw two forwards leave the game with injuries, as Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad were banged up on Tuesday.
Michalek may have gotten hurt blocking a shot while a Radko Gudas hit on Zibanejad left the Senators forward with an upper-body injury.
Gudas may get a call from the league for his infractions.
Update: Michalek’s issue could be significant.
The Flyers ended up beating the Senators 4-2, so a tough night for Ottawa.
In hockey terms, Patrick Kane was like a star basketball player left alone for an almost strange amount of time to score. Sometimes you miss that opportunity out of the sheer shock of getting that much time and space.
Devan Dubnyk wasn’t so lucky, however, as Kane beat him to score a 1-1 goal.
You can watch the whole sequence in the video above, including an absolutely fantastic play by Duncan Keith.
With that tally, Kane’s scoring streak is now at 20 games, leaving him one game behind Bobby Hull’s Chicago Blackhawks record.
PHT discusses Kane’s streak and his place among the all-time great runs in the clip below.