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Hawks Look To Force Game 7

Michal Handzus and the Chicago Blackhawks celebrated surviving on Wednesday. They now need to do it twice more.

Michal Handzus and the Chicago Blackhawks celebrated surviving on Wednesday. They now need to do it twice more if they’re to reach the Stanley Cup Finals next week.

The Chicago Blackhawks will once more look to keep their playoff hopes alive as they travel to Southern California on Friday to take on the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals.

Opening face-off at Staples Center in Los Angeles is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET.

Facing elimination for the first time this postseason, Chicago averted disaster Wednesday by way of a double-overtime victory at home.

Back in the friendly climes of the United Center, the Blackhawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead within four minutes of the game starting, benefiting from goals by Brent Seabrook and Johnny Oduya.

Jarrett Stroll answered for the Kings midway through the period before Chicago’s two-goal lead was quickly restored thanks to Brandon Saad’s effort.

At 3-1, things should have been comfortable for Joel Quenneville’s side, but having conceded 15 goals in the past three games, the Blackhawks’ defense would once again find itself being put through the blender.

Los Angeles made it 3-2 before the end of the first period on a goal from Marian Gaborik. The winger then added an assist on Dustin Brown’s fourth goal of the postseason midway through the second, before the Kings took their first lead of the game courtesy of Tanner Pearson midway through the period.

Chicago would respond with a third period goal from Ben Smith to knot the game at 4-4. From there, both teams knuckled down and looked for the win.

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford made a string of good saves in the initial overtime period, before ex-King Michal Handzus put a backhander beyond Jonathan Quick in the Los Angeles goal in the second extra frame, giving the Blackhawks a much-needed 5-4 victory.

Now, trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, the Blackhawks will look to do it all over again on Friday.

With the Eastern Conference finals coming to a close on Thursday, the Kings will hope to wrap this series up quickly, thus earning a similar rest period to the Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers. Chicago won’t care about rest; it’ll just be looking to stay alive.

Both teams have had plenty of success when it comes to playing in a Game 6 (see below) which makes this a tight matchup to call but one that’s must-see.

The cities of Los Angeles and New York haven’t met in a major final since the Yankees and Dodgers locked horns in 1981. Will the Kings change that on Friday or will the Blackhawks spoil the party and force a Game 7 on Sunday.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings odds for 05/30/2014

Los Angeles (-134) opened as the favorite over Chicago (+122) on the moneyline.

The Kings picked up victories in both games in Los Angeles earlier this series. Prior to those wins, the side had dropped three straight and 8-of-10 against the Blackhawks at Staples Center. Chicago will be confident it can steal the road victory and force a decisive Game 7.

Including two victories this postseason, Los Angeles has won Game 6 in each of its last three attempts as well as four of the last five.

Believe it or not, Chicago has been even more prolific when it comes to Game 6. Since Quenneville took over the reins early in the 2008-09 campaign, the Blackhawks are 10-1 when playing in a Game 6, and have won four straight, including a pair this season.

These two sides seem to have been built for lengthy playoff series.

The over/under opened at 5 with the over preferred.

Defense has seemingly taken a break in this series, which has seen a mammoth 35 goals through five games. Unsurprisingly then, the over has paid out in the last four and could well be the smart bet on Friday.

If the Blackhawks can keep the Kings at bay on Friday, the two teams will return to Chicago to contest a winner-takes-all Game 7 on Sunday (8:00 p.m. ET).

For a full list of the latest NHL playoff odds, click here.

When available, updated NHL futures odds can be found here.

For a selection of NHL team prop bets, click here.

For a selection of NHL player prop bets, click here.

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