Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings: Biggest Takeaways from Game 6

Brad Kurtzberg@@sealshockeyContributor IMay 31, 2014

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings: Biggest Takeaways from Game 6

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    The Blackhawks forced a Game 7 with a big win on the road.
    The Blackhawks forced a Game 7 with a big win on the road.Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Patrick Kane scored with three minutes, 45 seconds remaining in the third period to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final. The series is now all even at 3-3.

    Kane scored twice in the game and added an assist, while Brent Seabrook assisted on a pair of goals to lead the Chicago attack. Corey Crawford overcame an uneven start and made 26 saves to earn the victory.

    Drew Doughty had a goal and an assist to pace the Kings offense.

    Los Angeles led 3-2 in the third period when Alec Martinez scored a power play goal at 7:38, but the home team was unable to hold on to their lead.

    Duncan Keith tied it at 11:34 before Kane broke the tie in the closing minutes of the game.

    Game 7 will be played Sunday night in Chicago.

    Here is a look at the biggest takeaways from Game 6. Feel free to comment on any of the issues discussed here or add one of your own. As always, indicate why you feel the way you do.

The Kings Played a Physical Game Attempting to Wear Down Chicago

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    The Kings played a physical game.
    The Kings played a physical game.Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    The Kings are the bigger team, and they tried to use their size to their advantage in Game 6.

    Los Angeles outhit Chicago 48-35 in this game in an attempt to wear down their opponents.

    The idea was that the Kings would benefit late in the game, but things did not go according to plan for Darryl Sutter's team.

    Willie Mitchell and Tanner Pearson tied for the team lead with six hits each, while Slava Voynov was close behind with five.

    The physicality didn't quite pay off. The Kings blew a 3-2 lead midway through the third period. Chicago showed resiliency and calmly continued to press their attack.

    But don't be surprised if Los Angeles tries the same strategy in Game 7 on Sunday.

Patrick Kane's New Line Clicked

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    Andrew Shaw helped free up Patrick Kane in Game 6.
    Andrew Shaw helped free up Patrick Kane in Game 6.Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville continued to juggle his lines in an attempt to free up more space for Patrick Kane and make him more productive.

    In Game 6, the new trio was Kane on a line with Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad.

    This combination succeeded for the Blackhawks. Kane scored twice and added an assist while registering five shots on goal.

    Saad and Shaw each had an assist in the game and finished with a plus-one rating.

    The size and tenacity of Shaw and the persistence of Saad worked well to minimize the size advantage the Kings have over the Blackhawks. It gave Kane more room to move with and without the puck and created additional scoring chances for Chicago.

    Quenneville will probably keep the trio together to start Game 7. But if things aren't clicking, the Chicago coach has showed that he's not afraid to juggle his lines whenever his team needs a jump start.

The Intensity Level Was High for Both Teams

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    This game was intense, so much so that the two goalies even got into the act as the teams skated off the ice for the second intermission.

    Andrew Shaw made contact with Kings goalie Jonathan Quick shortly before the final whistle blew at the end of the second period. Quick responded by pushing back at Shaw with his glove. A small shoving match ensued.

    After it ended, Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford was waiting for Quick, and the two exchanged words and bumped each other. Crawford appeared to challenge Quick to a fight, but one of the referees separated them, and they skated away to their respective locker rooms.

    Still, the little near-skirmish between the two netminders showcased the intensity between these two teams in this well-played game.

The Kings Have Struggled to Hold Leads

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    The Kings failed to hold a lead for the second straight game.
    The Kings failed to hold a lead for the second straight game.Chris Carlson/Associated Press/Associated Press

    If the Los Angeles Kings eventually lose this series, they can't say they didn't have the chance to finish off the Blackhawks. For the second straight game, the Kings blew a third-period lead and ended up losing a game that would have ended the series had they won it.

    In Game 6, Los Angeles led 3-2 with 8:30 left in regulation time. They lost 4-3.

    It wasn't as if the Kings played poorly. They actually held the Blackhawks to just three shots on goal for the entire third period. But Chicago scored on two of those shots. On both goals, Corey Crawford had traffic in front of him and did not have a clear view of the puck.

    In Game 5, the Kings led 4-3 entering the third period and lost in overtime 5-4. They lost the lead just 1:17 into the third period.

    This failure by the Kings may cost them the series. They certainly cannot allow it to happen again in Game 7.

Each Team's Top Defensemen Played Well

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    The top pair defensemen for Chicago played well.
    The top pair defensemen for Chicago played well.USA TODAY Sports

    Once again, the Blackhawks' top defense pairing played very well and had a hand in Chicago's eventual victory.

    Brent Seabrook had two assists and finished the game with a plus-one. He also added three hits and a pair of blocked shots.

    Duncan Keith scored a goal and finished with a plus-two rating. He also led all Chicago players with nearly 25 minutes of ice time.

    Both Seabrook and Keith played well in all three zones. This created scoring chances for the Blackhawks while helping the team move the puck out of their own end and transition smoothly to offense.

    Meanwhile, Drew Doughty had another strong game for the Kings. Doughty scored a goal and made a smart blind pass to set up Alec Martinez's power-play goal that gave Los Angeles the lead in the third period.

    The best three defensemen in this game all demonstrated their skills throughout the game.