Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Patrick Kane assisted on the tying goal
and then netted the winning score late in the third period, and the Chicago
Blackhawks forced a deciding Game 7 in the Western Conference finals with a
4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday.
Kane, held to one point in the first four games of the series, has exploded
for seven points in the last two, including two goals and one helper in Game
Ben Smith and Duncan Keith added tallies for the Blackhawks, who have
rallied from a 3-1 deficit for the second consecutive postseason and can reach
the Stanley Cup Finals once more with a win on Sunday at United Center.
Corey Crawford picked up the win thanks to 26 saves.
"I don't think anyone lost confidence or got down after those two goals they
scored in the third," Crawford said. "If anything we kept pressing even
harder. Some great shots by Duncs and Kaner, some great plays, and we were
able to shut then down at the end."
Dwight King, Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez scored for the Kings, who became
just the third team in NHL history to have their first three playoff series
advance to a seventh game in one playoff year.
That didn't deter Doughty from adding confidently: "We've had two chances to
close out this series and we're not going to blow the third one."
Jonathan Quick stopped only 21 shots in defeat.
Los Angeles appeared to have turned things around thanks to scores in a 2:06
span early in the third period.
Doughty's wrister eluded Crawford on his glove side at 5:32, then, with
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews off for hooking, the hosts moved ahead by a 3-2
count with 7:38 played after Martinez blew a low, hard shot from below the
circles through traffic and in.
Kane sprang to life and guided the defending champs to the win. His slick pass
on the left wing found Keith at the inner edge of the circle for a successful
wrister to knot the game with 8:26 showing.
Kane struck once more with 3:45 left in regulation. He trailed a Brandon Saad
rush on the right wing, accepted a back pass, then moved from the circle into
the middle and beat Quick with a wrister to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 edge.
"It's unbelievable, I looked at him, I think it was about a minute left, I
think there was a stoppage of play and I almost started laughing," Toews
admitted. "It's amazing what he can do in these big games, when our season is
on the line and nobody else seems to be able to do it the same way he does it,
it's pretty amazing."
Quick was sent to the bench twice in the final 1:15 of the contest, and the
Kings' last best chance from Marian Gaborik in the waning seconds was blocked
by a 'Hawks defenseman's skate before getting near Crawford.
"We battled back and I think we just made a couple mistakes. I thought we were
doing a good job on [Patrick] Kane and then getting kind of spacey (he) made
two great plays," noted Kings captain Dustin Brown. "I don't think we can
expect to give up four goals in one game. If we clean that up, we're good."
King missed a contested breakaway chance just prior to the seven-minute mark
of the first, but didn't miss his next chance as the clock ticked down under
three minutes left in the period.
Jarrett Stoll chased down a dump in, beating Blackhawks defenseman Brent
Seabrook to the left of Crawford, then flipped a backhanded pass into the slot
where King one-timed it home.
Chicago evened the score on the advantage, as Toews fed Kane for a one-timer
in the right circle which beat Quick to the far post just 1:12 into the
Smith managed to bank a shot off Quick from the right side behind the goal
line for a 2-1 game at 2:49, and the Blackhawks had a prime chance to put the
Kings in a two-goal hole minutes later but Patrick Sharp hit the crossbar
during a 2-on-0 with Marcus Kruger.
Only the 2000 New Jersey Devils have overcome a 3-1 series deficit in a
conference final and advanced to the fourth and final round ... The 1993
Toronto Maple Leafs and 2002 Colorado Avalanche previously saw each of their
in-conference playoff matchups reach Game 7s, with the Leafs losing to the
Kings and Avs to the Red Wings ... Seabrook added two assists ... Doughty has
collected seven points (3G, 4A) in the last five games.