The L.A. Kings can still advance to their second Stanley Cup Final in three years. But for a third consecutive series in these playoffs, it will require a Game 7.
The Kings fell 4-3 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night. A win, and they would’ve punched their ticket to face the New York Rangers in the championship series. Now, they must fly back to Chicago to take on the defending Stanley Cup champs on their home turf in the United Center.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, who was also sensational in the final 20 minutes, despite the loss, was defiant about the situation his team now faces. Dating back to their historic first round series win over San Jose, all three Game 7s the Kings have found themselves in during this post-season have been on the road.
“I’m frustrated, but I’m over it pretty quickly. We’ve got another game to play, Game 7,” said Doughty, as per LA Kings Insider. “We’ve had two chances to close out this series and we’re not going to blow the third one.
“Yeah, it helps and I think this is a good thing for our hockey club. I don’t think we played enough desperate hockey these last two games and I think that’s kind of why we lost both of them. It’s about time that we get to that type of game that the LA Kings play.”
L.A.’s head coach Darryl Sutter didn’t have much to say to his team about Friday’s loss. Only this one-liner, typical Darryl Sutter style.
Sutter on what he told Kings after the game: "Flight's at 11." #Blackhawks
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.
Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)
On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.
William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.
Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.
So far, it shows, too.
The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.
There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:
Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week
Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.