Blackhawks’ offense finally finds some room to work with
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com June 6, 2013 11:46PM
HAWKs 3, KINGS 2
Blackhawks 1 1 1 — 3
Los Angeles 1 1 0 — 2
First Period—1, Los Angeles, Voynov 6 (Clifford, Fraser), 3:28. 2, HAWKS, Bickell 8 (Frolik, Hjalmarsson), 13:16. Penalties—Shaw, HAWKS (slashing), 4:39; Stoll, LA (holding), 8:49.
Second Period—3, Los Angeles, Penner 3 (Carter, Toffoli), 2:12. 4, HAWKS, Kane 3 (Bickell, Hjalmarsson), 18:21. Penalties—Greene, LA (hooking), 4:40; Kopitar, LA (delay of game), 5:47; Kane, HAWKS (hooking), 12:39; Regehr, LA (interference), 19:00.
Third Period—5, HAWKS, Hossa 7 (Handzus, Oduya), 1:10. Penalties—Frolik, HAWKS (high-sticking), 15:23.
Shots on Goal—HAWKS 11-8-9—28. Los Angeles 10-9-2—21. Power-play opportunities—HAWKS 0 of 4; Los Angeles 0 of 3.
Goalies—HAWKS, Crawford 11-5-0 (21 shots-19 saves). Los Angeles, Quick 9-8-0 (28-25).
Referees—Brad Watson, Chris Rooney. Linesmen—Jay Sharrers, Pierre Racicot.
A—18,621 (18,118). T—2:28.
Updated: June 7, 2013 12:49AM
LOS ANGELES — Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa combined for just one goal and three assists through the first three games of the Western Conference finals, as the defensive-minded Los Angeles Kings worked to take away their time and space with the puck.
“There’s not much room,” Hossa said. “You have to keep fighting.”
The Hawks fought harder in Game 4 on Thursday and found some room to work in their 3-2 victory. By applying relentless pressure in the offensive zone, the Hawks created far more scoring opportunities than they did in a listless 3-1 loss in Game 3.
“I felt like we had pressure on their goalie tonight,” said Hossa, who had the game-winning goal on a two-on-one with Michal Handzus.
Kane, mired in a seven-game scoring slump until he tapped Bryan Bickell’s deflection over the goal line to tie the score late in the second period, seemed to benefit the most from the extra space. He was all over the ice, especially after being reunited with Toews, who seemed better able to create with the speedy Kane than the steady, but slower, Handzus.
Kane finished with seven shots on goal — three more than any other player on either team — and had no shots blocked.
“He had the puck early and a lot,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “He’s dangerous off the rush. Took some shots through the screens. Nice to see him score, as well.”
Said Kane: “I think the biggest thing was just trying to get the puck any way I could, skate with it, feel into the game. I thought I did a good job of that. If we play as a five-man unit and come up the ice with speed, you see how successful we can be.”
The big stage
Several Hawks, including Bickell, Viktor Stalberg, Michal Handzus and Michal Rozsival, will be unrestricted free agents next month. And they know that teams around the league are watching closely with only one game on TV each night.
“I think people are watching you all year,” Stalberg said. “Certainly there’s more eyes on you at this point of the year. You try not to think about it. It’s about winning right now and doing everything you can for the team. Whatever happens, we’ll take care of that. Right now, it’s about the group, this team, winning right now.”
Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille are among the great players in the Kings’ 46-year history. But no King ever scored four game-winning goals in one postseason until Voynov this season.
Voynov had the game-winner in Game 3 — his fourth of the spring. That puts him one career game-winning goal behind Gretzky for second among Kings players (Robitaille had nine).
“I wish there were some other guys on our team that had more game-winning goals,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “I wouldn’t say it’s goofy, but we put him in position to succeed a lot. Quite honestly, he’s had more opportunities to shoot the puck than most guys on the team, the way it’s set up for him. We expect him to take full advantage of it.”