Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews congratulates goalie Corey Crawford after their team defeated the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of their NHL Western Conference final hockey playoffs in Chicago, Illinois, June 2, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY) )
The Chicago Blackhawks will look to establish stranglehold on the Western Conference finals when they visit the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.
After a winning 2-1 in a tightly contested Game 1, the Blackhawks ran away with a 4-0 lead early in the second period that chased reigning Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick. However, Chicago must do something no one else has achieved in these playoffs; they must defeat the Kings at the Staples Center. Los Angeles is 7-0 on home ice and Quick has put up three shutouts in the process; Los Angeles has won 14 straight on home ice since the end of the regular season. More importantly, the Kings have already battled back from a 2-0 lead in this postseason; the team lost the first two games of the series against the St. Louis Blues in the first round but fought back with four straight victories.
"I think you can draw on the fact that we've been in this situation before in the sense that the series is long from over for our mindset," Kings Captain Dustin Brown said. "It's about playing the game. I mean, we try to cut it in half tomorrow night."
In order for the Kings to make the comeback, the team must get more offensive production from its top players. Center Anze Kopitar has struggled tremendously throughout the postseason with only seven points in 15 postseason games; most of his production came in the first round against the Blues.
"Yeah, I'm sure he's frustrated," Kings coach Daryl Sutter said. "We've spent a lot of time together talking about stuff and working on stuff and trying to find little areas that he can do differently or be better. But I don't really lose sleep over Kopi. He's not a guy that takes shortcuts."
Prediction: The Los Angeles Kings will not go down without a fight. Look for the defending Champions to take advantage of home ice and for Quick to bounce back with a strong performance. The Kings win 2-1.
Start Time: 9 PM EST