The 2014 Western Conference finals have been rough at times on Jonathan Quick and Corey Crawford. The Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings didn’t make life easier for those two struggling netminders in the first period of Game 7.
The Blackhawks rushed out to a 2-0 lead, with Patrick Kane collecting two more assists to continue his absolutely ridiculous run since Chicago has been on the brink of elimination. Here’s his assist on Brandon Saad’s fourth goal of this series.
Jeff Carter’s outstanding feat of hand-eye coordination made it 2-1 with about three and half minutes left in the first period, which is when this game shifted from “hectic” to “flat-out wacky.”
Here’s video of all five goals from that wild first period:
Consider the stream of goals beginning with Carter’s tally, when he avoided the crossbar:
Carter scores his ninth goal of the playoffs at 16:31 of the first period.
Justin Williams (pictured) redeems his first period penalty (which led to the Toews goal) with another Game 7 goal at the 17:22 mark of the opening frame. Williams’ 13 points in Game 7’s now ties Doug Gilmour for the NHL record while his his seven goals ties Glenn Anderson.
That tie only lasted 11 seconds for the Kings, however, as Patrick Sharp gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead at the 17:34 mark.
Like Saad’s goal, Sharp’s tally came from an angle that might leave Quick soul-searching for some time. (Video coming soon.)
To review, the two teams scored two goals in 11 seconds and three in one minute and 13 seconds (give or take). Kane has been involved in nine of the Blackhawks’ last 12 goals, which is all that much more amazing being that the stakes are so high.
It’s tough to imagine these two teams topping that opening 20 minutes, but considering the level of play between the Kings and Blackhawks, do you really feel safe doubting them?
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
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