Less than 24 hours after going through 60 minutes of tenacious battle, the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks will meet in a pivotal Game 2 matchup. The Blackhawks will look to take a 2-0 lead, and the Kings will look to tie things up before heading home to the Staples Center.
Game 1 was well paced, and the Blackhawks were able to come from behind to defeat the Stanley Cup champions. The outcome of Game 2 is very important, because the Kings will be heading home where they are red hot. The Kings are 7-0 at home during the playoffs, and that is an edge that they will hope to take advantage of.
Time: Sunday, June 2, 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: United Center, Chicago
Series: CHI leads LAK 1-0
TV: NBC Sports Network
Key Storyline: Special Teams
Game 1 was very close, and both teams failed to execute on the power play. However, both teams were successful on the penalty kill.
Heading into Game 1, the Kings had the seventh best power play in the playoffs, and the fifth best penalty kill. It is a huge element of their game, but they lost Game 1 partially because of failing to execute with a man advantage.
The Kings had two different power-play opportunities in Game 1, and they failed to execute. Multiple times the Kings got close, but they were unable to be successful against the NHL's top penalty kill unit.
The Blackhawks have been practical perfect when shorthanded, and that played a huge role in Game 1's outcome. If the Kings score a power-play goal, odds are they win Game 1.
For the Kings they will look to be successful on the power play, and the Blackhawks will look to remain a dominant force while shorthanded. The Hawks will also to look to improve on their power play, but right now they can win games by preventing the Kings from generating offense.
Key Matchup: Corey Crawford vs. Jonathan Quick
Game 1 was decided by one goal, and you can look for Corey Crawford and Jonathan Quick to be on their game in Game 2. Both teams had their fair share of chances, and the margin of error is very slim going forward.
Both goaltenders stood tall while their teams were shorthanded, and each goal scored was a proverbial goal-scorer's goal. This is not only going to be a key matchup in Game 2, but for the rest of the series.
Injury Report (via TSN.com)
Los Angeles Kings
Mike Richards: Left Game 1 with an upper-body Injury
Blackhawks' Projected Lineup
Line 1: Bryan Bickell, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa
Line 2: Patrick Sharp, Michal Handzus, Patrick Kane
Line 3: Brandon Saad, Marcus Kruger, Michael Frolik
Line 4: Andrew Shaw, Dave Bolland, Viktor Stalberg
Line 1: Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook
Line 2: Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya
Line 3: Michal Rozsival, Nick Leddy
Kings' Projected Lineup
Line 1:Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams
Line 2: Dwight King, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter
Line 3: Dustin Penner, Jarret Stoll, Trevor Lewis
Line 4: Kyle Clifford, Colin Fraser, Brad Richardson
Line 1: Drew Doughty, Robyn Regehr
Line 2: Jake Muzzin, Slava Voynov
Line 3: Alec Martinez, Rob Scuderi
Blackhawks Will Win If...
The Blackhawks will take a 2-0 series lead if they continue to use their speed like they did in Game 1. Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp scored goals less than four minutes apart during Game 1, and they were able to score off the rush.
It was a Johnny Oduya point shot that Sharp eventually put home for a rebound, and Hossa put home a blast by Duncan Keith by using a great net-front presence to tip the puck past Jonathan Quick. When the Blackhawks use their weapons well off the rush, good things generally happen.
Kings Will Win If...
The Kings will tie the series in Game 2 if they can sustain their forecheck and capitalize on special teams. During Game 1 the Kings scored first, but they were unable to pressure the Blackhawks by sustaining a dominant fore check. They also were unable to capitalize on special teams, and a power-play goal may have enabled them to tie, or take a lead in Game 1.
Jonathan Quick kept the Kings in the game by making 36 saves, and in Game 2 the Kings need to generate some offense for their goaltender.
Prediction: Chicago Blackhawks 2, Los Angeles Kings 1
Game 2 should be very close, and the Blackhawks will likely win. They were able to take control during the second period of Game 1, and from that point on the Kings could not generate any consistent offense.
The Kings need their stars to step up, and it will be very hard for them to have an impact given how well Corey Crawford is currently playing. If the Kings can turn things around early in Game 2 they will have a chance, but at this point momentum is tipped in the Blackhawks' favor.