Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings – CHI wins 4-3, Series tied 3-3
As is the case with most games, the big names are typically names that need to have big games in order for teams to survive. When it comes to big names for Chicago, one who has provided heroics in the past is Patrick Kane. Quiet for most of the series, Kane had four assist in the elimination Game 5, ensuring his team would live to fight at least one more game. While players like Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, and especially Jonathan Toews would have to play well, Kane is a pure game-breaker. These types of players can single-handedly decide games and if Chicago wanted to go back home for a chance to move to the Stanley Cup Final, Kane would likely have to figure in to the score sheet yet again. Maybe more than once.
For Los Angeles, the Kings needed a big game from their goaltender Jonathan Quick. Despite his prevalence in the media for being a great goalie, he had a .909 save percentage for the playoffs going in to Game 6. To put that in to context, no goalie has finished the playoffs as a Stanley Cup finalist and a save percentage under .910 since 2009 (surprise, Marc-Andre Fleury at .908 in 2009). Bad luck or not, their Cup-winning goalie from a couple of years ago had to be significantly better than under 91 percent of pucks saved if the Kings hoped to reach the final and eventually win the Cup.
Los Angeles took the lead in a fairly even first period thanks to a Dwight King goal. The second period started fast for the ‘Hawks as they scored on a power play less than two minutes in to the frame. A power play goal by Kane. The ‘Hawks then took the lead just 97 seconds later and that set up a wild third period.
About four minutes after Martinez’s goal, Kane made a beautiful backhand seam pass to a pinching Duncan Keith who potted Chicago’s third goal. It wouldn’t end there as Kane would wheel around the Los Angeles defensive zone with under five minutes remaining in the third and fired a shot past a screened Quick to give his team the lead. It would finish with a 4-3 score with Patrick Kane having two goals and an assist, now seven points in his last two games. The Blackhawks needed him to show up in this series and he has come through for them when they needed him the most.
Quick made at least one big save for Los Angeles in this game but his four goals allowed has brought his save percentage for the playoffs down to .906. Again, goals like the fourth where he was screened aren’t necessarily his fault. One way or another, though, Quick has to figure out a way to be a lot better than he has been if the Kings want to get to the Cup Final.
Kane isn’t known as a typical possession player in terms of shot attempts. He was a machine on Friday night though, as the ‘Hawks had 21 shot attempts with Kane on the ice at five-on-five in under 19 minutes of ice time for Kane. That makes 49 shot attempts with Kane on the ice in his last two games (about 44 minutes of five-on-five time). If he keeps up this rate, the Kings are in big trouble going back to Chicago for Game 7.