Chicago Blackhawks (46-21-15) at Los Angeles Kings (46-28-8)
|Date & Time||Monday May 26, 2014, 9:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Los Angeles Kings -131 / Chicago Blackhawks +119 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Blackhawks look to even the score with a win in Los Angeles on Monday while the Kings look to head back to Chicago with a 3-1 series edge.
The Chicago Blackhawks have dropped back to back contests for the first time in these playoffs since losing the first two games of the series against the St. Louis Blues but they get a shot at redemption on Monday night at the Staples Center. The Hawks got on the board first but couldn’t generate any momentum as the Kings rallied for a 4-3 victory that wasn’t as close as the final line indicates as the Hawks scored with an empty net with three seconds remaining. Chicago is a very resilient bunch and are still very much a favourite to win this series but they know that they can’t take the Kings lightly as they have just as much playoff experience as they do as they’re just two years removed from their own Cup victory and perhaps have more energy in their legs than the Hawks after a premature exit from the playoffs last season. Corey Crawford continues to get scrutinized for having poor games and never gets the credit when he plays well and that seesaw should continue here tonight as the Hawks seem to go as far as Crawford can take them in the sense that his strong play is a catalyst to the already impressive team in front of him.
The Kings have a great opportunity to take a commanding 3-1 series lead with a victory on home ice here tonight and after storming back in game two to snatch a series shifting win the Kings continued that momentum in game three. Los Angeles has been battled tested all season long and have played two more games in these playoffs than the Hawks by virtue of both of their series thus far going to a deciding game seven. The Hawks got the best of LA in game one as Crawford had a great game and the team as a whole played very well defensively and limited the Kings to just a single goal but since then the Kings have scored 10 times to Chicago’s five and that has been the difference over the last couple of days. Los Angeles seems to get finding their stride right now which is terrible news for Chicago fans but the Hawks are the defending Cup champs for a reason and have very much been competitive in this series and to me they’re too good of a team to lose three in a row to the same team regardless of how good the Kings are. I like the Hawks to even things up here and head back home on even terms.