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Blackhawks Take Game 1 of West Finals


Just one week ago, the Chicago Blackhawks had their backs against the wall, facing elimination in game five of their West semifinals series against the Detroit Red Wings. Now, after four straight playoff wins, they have taken a 1-0 West Finals lead against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Kings’ playoff road woes continued on Saturday, as the Hawks overcame an early 1-0 deficit, scoring two goals in the second period to win 2-1. Though Chicago found the back of the net later in the game, it was their consistently sound defense and that won the day, as the Hawks held the Kings to just 22 shots on goal, while Corey Crawford made 21 saves to stymie to Kings’ late attack.

“It’s always great when you win the first game, especially back-to-back, to give you a little momentum,” Hawks winger Marian Hossa said, according to ESPN.com. “I felt like we did lots of good things today. We know we have to be better (Sunday) and keep doing those things.”

Today, the Hawks will stay at home for game two and try to ride that momentum to a game two victory, which would be their fifth straight playoff win. Meanwhile, Los Angeles Kings know they have to put this the game one loss behind them quickly and transition their mindset to getting ready for game two.

“We’ve got to forget about this one right now, for sure,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “There’s some stuff that’s going to be addressed, what we have to do better in preparation.”

One thing the Kings have to do is produce offensively against the Hawks, and they are fully aware that all starts on their end of the ice.

“Scoring doesn’t simply come from the offensive zone,” Kings winger Justin Williams said. “It comes from being good in your own zone, breaking out together and scoring off the rush. We didn’t have enough of that.”

For the Blackhawks, the gameplan for game two will be the same. Get as many shots on Jonathon Quick as they can and keep up the relentless attack until they break through.

“You need traffic. You need a deflection. He finds a way to find pucks,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Quick. “I think the volume and traffic of shots is the only way to get to this guy.”

The other thing to consider when betting this match-up is that the Kings still can’t find a way to find on the road in this postseason. They are now 1-6 away from home and though it hasn’t been as much of an issue when they’ve had home ice in series against the Blues and the Sharks, it will be in this series, which they spent the majority of which are the road.

Look for the Blackhawks to keep things rolling and look for the Kings to fall again on the road, as the Hawks cover -1.5 goals today.




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