PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Tampa Bay Lightning fans were treated to a Blades of Steel inspired show at Amalie Arena between periods. For those unfamiliar, Blades of Steel is an NES game from an era where its chief competitor was simply titled Ice Hockey. (Puck Daddy)
The Chicago Blackhawks have a perfect playoff record in games where Marian Hossa scores. (Chris Kuc)
Taylor Hall seems very upbeat as he prepares for the 2015-16 campaign. (Edmonton Journal)
Given how young the Lightning are, you would think that they’ll be one of the league’s top teams for years to come and they might be, but it’s not easy to pull off in the salary cap era. (Tampa Bay Times)
Paul Kariya is spending his retirement surfing in California and doesn’t seem interested in trading that in to work as a hockey coach or part of a team’s front office. “My love was for playing. If I could still play, I’d still be playing out there,” Kariya said. (Vancouver Sun)
Mike Amendola is no longer with the Carolina Hurricanes. The former chief financial officer spent 35 years with the organization, making him their longest-tenured front-office employee until his departure. (Washington Times)
It just seems appropriate.
In a Western Conference Final where the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks have each had their moments to shine, where neither squad has been able to keep the other down for long, it would have been almost anticlimactic if we were given anything less than the full seven games. Chicago guaranteed that we’ll get that deciding contest by earning a 5-2 victory tonight.
After losing Game 5 in no small part due to their terrible start, the Blackhawks came out strong tonight. They were initially dominant on the draw and had some great scoring chances, but Anaheim held on to maintain the scoreless tie through 20 minutes.
It wasn’t until midway through the second period that Chicago’s efforts were finally rewarded with Brandon Saad’s breakaway goal. Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane followed that up with a pair of goals, giving Chicago three markers in the span of less than four minutes. Duncan Keith assisted on all of those goals to tie his career-high, per the NHL’s Communications Department.
As both sides should be well aware at this point though, a 3-0 lead isn’t safe. While the final score was ultimately one-sided, Anaheim nearly came back as Patrick Maroon netted a power-play goal at 14:13 of the second period and Clayton Stoner added a controversial marker early in the third period.
The final frame was largely dominated by the Ducks, but the Blackhawks managed to hold on until Andrew Shaw provided them with some much needed insurance.
Shaw also collected an empty netter to bury this game.
That marks the first time Anaheim has lost in regulation since the playoffs began. Chicago needed to go to triple and double overtime to beat them in Games 2 and 4 respectively.
Game 7 will be played in Anaheim on Saturday. For Chicago to win this series, it will have to become the first team to earn back-to-back victories in the 2015 Western Conference Final.
With their season on the line, the Chicago Blackhawks had some great opportunities to strike first in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final, but they couldn’t quite capitalize in the opening frame.
Perhaps Chicago’s best chance of the first period occurred near the halfway mark when a turnover by Ryan Getzlaf led to a great opportunity in front by Brandon Saad. Goaltender Frederik Andersen was able to stretch out to make the save.
Chicago also nearly opened up this game late in the frame when Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen wasn’t able to control the puck in the neutral zone, which led to Patrick Sharp flinging a shot at Andersen. The Ducks goalie made the initial save, but surrendered a juicy rebound for Teuvo Teravainen. Unfortunately for Chicago, he ended up missing the net.
You can watch those plays below:
Saad got another chance to bury the puck in the second period though and this time he would not be denied:
That opened up the floodgates as Marian Hossa and then Patrick Kane both found the back of the net within four minutes of Saad’s marker.