It’s hyperbolic to look at this playoff series as a pair of heavyweight champions locked in an epic two-week title bout, but it’s not inaccurate. For all the intangible characteristics that the Kings possess – “intangible” seems to be working its way into more stories this round – the Blackhawks have also cultivated a forest of those qualities by virtue of also having reached the highest level of National Hockey League success this decade. Against a sparring partner with the same championship ideals, the same resiliency, the simple will to win, and, as the narratives have shifted over the last week, Patrick Kane, it’s really not a surprise that this playoff series will go the distance. Perhaps it’s easy to disagree with this given the opportunities Los Angeles had to win in Games 5 and 6, but it seems natural and expected that these two very, very good hockey teams will be playing Western Conference hockey on June 1.

492396963MW00087_Chicago_Bl

Abstract magnification aside, there were a few breakdowns in this game, and while it’s easy to gravitate towards placing blame on individuals, games are won and lost by teams. The Kings were unable to protect two leads, and as frustrating as the final 10 minutes of the third period were for Kings fans, the first three minutes of the second period placed them on that course. A legitimate holding call on Anze Kopitar 20 seconds into the period was not killed, and a minute and 37 seconds after Patrick Kane’s first goal, the Blackhawks entered the offensive zone cleanly and with control, and Ben Smith finished off a rush by banking the puck of Jonathan Quick’s skate from behind the goal line as he continued his unsung postseason performance. Between that moment and the first two third period goals, Los Angeles responded well, dictated the pace of play for longer stretches than Chicago, out-possessed and out-attempted its opponent and ultimately tied the game and took the lead. The woulda-shoulda-coulda factor is still strong in a game in which the Kings had a poor start to the second period.

Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Six

It was a game that seemed to typify Jonathan Quick’s postseason campaign. Though there were the remarkable saves – hello, denial of a two-on-zero – there was also the one stop on three third period shots on goal. Look, this is a series in which tremendous players have made an impact in the midst of thoroughly compelling hockey. Patrick Kane, Jeff Carter, Jonathan Toews, Anze Kopitar, Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty all made huge impacts on their teams at the Winter Olympics. These are excellent, championship-branded players playing at their highest level, and goals are going to be scored given this series’ artistry. Jonathan Quick is better than his .906 postseason save percentage, and he’s going to have to summon the magic of postseasons past given that he’s about to face another onslaught by a handful of gifted players. We haven’t consistently seen in this series the type of Quick performances we saw in the series comeback against San Jose, or Games 1 and 2 against Anaheim. It does appear as though Los Angeles is going to need something in the realm of a 36-of-38 performance from Quick if the team is to advance. It will be up to the players working in unison in front of him to possess the puck and exit the defensive zone as cleanly as possible to reduce the frequency of the Grade-A opportunities that have flowed freely in this series.

492396963NG052_HAWKS_KINGS.JPG

Kings fans, it’s good to know Drew Doughty is on your side tomorrow. Following up his supreme Game 5 performance, he was again among the top difference makers in Game 6, though the narrative balance shifted to Patrick Kane given the dramatic third period turn. Making a strong claim as The Best Defenseman In Hockey, Doughty is obviously poised, patience and intelligent with the puck, and like so many individuals on these two teams, is trying so hard to will those around him to victory. Though he spoke about having moved past the loss when speaking with reporters last night, one can only think about how excruciating Game 5 and 6 must be on the ultracompetitive athlete. He logged 26:10 of ice time, and along with Jake Muzzin, was on the ice for 23 shot attempts directed towards Corey Crawford and only 12 shot attempts directed towards Quick.

494778283 (494x640)

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

VIEW ALEC MARTINEZ POSTS
Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

VIEW ANZE KOPITAR POSTS
Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

VIEW DREW DOUGHTY POSTS
Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
VIEW TYLER TOFFOLI POSTS

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

VIEW JEFF CARTER POSTS
Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

VIEW JONATHAN QUICK POSTS