An Interactive Sports Experience

Chicago Blackhawks Win Fifth Straight; Take Command of Series

It’s hard to believe that just over one week ago the Chicago Blackhawks lost Game 4 of their second round match-up against the Detroit Red Wings to fall 3-1 behind in the series. It hasn’t been an easy road. However, after wins in Games 1 and 2 on back-to-back night against the Los Angeles Kings, the Blackhawks have taken a commanding early 2-0 series lead in their Western conference finals series.

Chicago won the President’s Trophy as part of a dominant regular season. They were widely picked to reach the Stanley Cup final winning their way through the Western conference.

A talented and deep Blackhawks’ team retained the majority of a core that won the Cup in 2010. However, they had been disappointing losing in the first round of consecutive playoffs.

There was a feeling that a deep team with a resurgent goaltender in Corey Crawford would have what it takes to break through in 2013.

Those predictions remain intact when the Blackhawks brushed aside the Minnesota Wild in the first round. However, Chicago quickly ran into trouble against seventh seed Detroit. After winning Game 1, Joel Quenneville’s talented team scored just two goals while losing Games 2, 3 and 4.

It looked like 2013 would go down as another disappointing postseason for the Blackhawks. They took a comfortable Game 5 victory to take the series back to Detroit. It didn’t look particularly good early on in Game 6. The Red Wings took a 2-1 lead into the third period and appeared to be controlling the game. A mammoth third period effort finally swung the tide in Chicago’s favor.

The Blackhawks were favorites again returning to the United Center for Game 7. However, it would be a grind going to overtime before defenseman Brent Seabrook finally broke through with the game winner 3:35 into the extra period.

The confidence gained from getting past their arch-nemesis and from battling through a tough series appears to have carried over into the Western conference finals against the defending champion Kings.

LA relied on physical play and tough defense to win the Cup in 2012 and to advance past St Louis and San Jose to this point in these playoffs. However, they’ve struggled to contain a deep and fast Chicago line-up. The Blackhawks scored a pair of quick goals to decide Game 1. They then chased Jonathan Quick out of the LA net midway through the second period after exploding for four goals early in the game. Chicago will know that a win in Game 3 or 4 will give them a great chance of wrapping up the series and returning to the Finals.

Of course, the series is far from over. The Kings went down 2-0 against St Louis in their first round series. They have a playoff tested and battle hardened roster. They are 1-6 on the road in the playoffs so far, but they are 7-0 at home. Darryl Sutter’s team will feel confident heading back to home ice for the next two games.

Quenneville also knows that he can get more from his roster. Jonathan Toews has just one goal and seven points in 14 playoff games so far. Patrick Kane only has two goals and Brent Seabrook is still finding his stride at both ends of the ice.

If Chicago gets a little more help from those superstars, then that might be the extra gear that can take them to another Stanley Cup championship.


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