Chicago Blackhawks (46-21-15) at Los Angeles Kings (46-28-8)
|Date & Time||Friday May 30, 2014, 9:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Los Angeles Kings -134 / Chicago Blackhawks +122 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Blackhawks look to force a deciding game seven back the United Center with a win on the road in Los Angeles while the Kings look to book their ticket to the Stanley Cup finals.
The Blackhawks face a do or die situation for the second time in as many games but for just the second time all postseason long on Friday night in Los Angeles after netting a double OT victory on Wednesday to extend the series. Michal Handzus scored in the early going of the fifth period to give the defending Cup champs some life after falling behind 3-1 in the series but now they head back to LA to face a Kings team that swept both games at the Staples Center so far in this series and one that will be itching for a bit of time off before taking on the New York Rangers. The Hawks received a special effort from both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the game five decision despite both players being limited on the scoresheet but if you ask anyone on the team who stood out for the Hawks and you’ll get the same answer across the board. If the Hawks are going to keep their season alive they’ll need Corey Crawford to be better between the pipes as he has been a liability of sorts on the road in these playoffs and with this being an absolute must win there is no better time for Crawford to step up.
The Kings have their second opportunity at wrapping up the series on Friday night and after coming close on a number of occasions in game five’s double overtime loss you’d have to think they feel a little more confident on home ice. The Kings have been on a tear in these playoffs despite playing in two game sevens already but they seem to be getting better as the playoffs go along and now with the Stanley Cup scheduled to begin either in Chicago or Los Angeles next week you can be sure they would love to wrap things up tonight and get a bit of rest before taking on the Rangers next week. The Kings have so much depth up front and are so physical down the middle and while the blue lines of these teams are a wash you have to like the way the Kings have been playing of late at the back and ultimately I think this one will come down to goaltending. While Crawford never gets the respect he deserves I just don’t think he will have enough on this night on the road in what should be a series clinching victory for the home side.