The 2014 NHL playoffs have been flat-out amazing, but the road to the Stanley Cup is only heating up as the four remaining teams do battle for two spots in the final.
With New York, Montreal, Los Angeles and Chicago all vying for the right to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup, the third round is shaping up to be the most physically intense portion of the postseason thus far.
Here is the full schedule for the Eastern and Western Conference Finals, an updated bracket and television information for each game.
Full bracket via NHLPlayoffsBracket.com.
|2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals|
|1||Rangers beat Canadiens, 7-2||May 17||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|2||Rangers beat Canadiens, 3-1||May 19||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|3||Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers||May 22||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|4||Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers||May 25||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|5*||New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens||May 27||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|6*||Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers||May 29||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|7*||New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens||May 31||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|1||Blackhawks beat Kings, 3-1||May 18||3 p.m.||NBC|
|2||Kings beat Blackhawks, 6-2||May 21||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|3||Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings||May 24||8 p.m.||NBC|
|4||Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings||May 26||9 p.m.||NBCSN|
|5||Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks||May 28||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|6*||Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings||May 30||9 p.m.||NBCSN|
|7*||Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks||June 1||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Source: NHL.com. *if necessary|
Player with Most to Lose: Jonathan Quick, G, Los Angeles Kings
Every player left in the postseason is under pressure, but few face the kind of scrutiny that Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick has faced throughout the 2014 postseason.
Inconsistency has plagued the playoffs for the goaltender. During the team’s run to the Western Conference Final, Quick racked up a less-than-impressive 2.70 goals-against average, a .912 save percentage and only one shutout.
Los Angeles expected more from a player who had a 2.07 goals-against average during the regular season.
Quickie is pretty hard on himself. He takes the blame for every single goal. If we lose, he’s going to be upset after the game. He’s very emotional. He’s so competitive that he never gives up. He wants to win so bad, but the next day he’s calm, cool and collected like usual.
Teammate Jarret Stoll also heaped praise on the netminder:
As Hockey Night in Canada’s Twitter account pointed out, it was Quick’s monumental save that launched Los Angeles to a comeback victory against the Blackhawks in Game 2:
Quick stepped up his game Wednesday night, but for the team to continue having success and be able to knock off the vaunted Blackhawks, the netminder must be near perfect for the remainder of the series.
Chicago has too much skill and depth at the forward position to allow Quick to completely shut the offense down, so the Kings defense must be at its best. Led by Drew Doughty, Los Angeles must force the puck to the outside and not give the Blackhawks clean space to shot through the middle.
With the angles to help him cut down the shooting space and defenders in front blocking shots, Quick will have the chance to hold Chicago off and bring his team one step closer to another Stanley Cup.
If Johnathan Toews, Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks offense find a rhythm and rattle the netminder, though, this will be a long series.
Stats via NHL.com.