The Stanley Cup playoffs have been defined by mood swings, for both the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings. While Los Angeles has been the comeback Kings of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Chicago already overcame a 2-0 deficit in the first round, to go along with its 3-1 rally in the second round last year. On May 30, a back and forth series became tied again with a back and forth Game 6, as the Blackhawks and Patrick Kane erased a 3-2 third period deficit -- and a 3-1 series deficit -- to force Game 7 in Chicago.
The Blackhawks' 4-3 win was not only their second elimination game victory in a row, it was the second straight where they overcame a third period deficit. Once again, the Kings were less than 20 minutes away from ending the series and reaching their second Stanley Cup final in three years. But once again, the Blackhawks stayed alive in their quest for a third final in five years.
The Kings started well enough with a late first period goal from Dwight King. But in the blink of an eye, the Blackhawks took the lead early in the second, on two goals from Kane and Ben Smith within 97 seconds. However, in the next blink of an eye early in the third period, Drew Doughty tied the game for the Kings and then assisted on Alec Martinez's power play goal over two minutes later.
For the first time in these Stanley Cup playoffs, the Kings had a chance to clinch a series before Game 7 and could do it at home. Yet there was time for one more sudden swing, as the Blackhawks forced another tie on a goal from Duncan Keith that Kane assisted. Then when Chicago and Los Angeles looked destined for a second straight overtime, Kane broke the tie with yet another game-winning playoff tally.
Corey Crawford preserved the lead for the Blackhawks, despite having been shredded in Games 2 through 4. Kane had been contained in those losses too, but he now has seven points in Chicago's last two wins.
As a result, the Stanley Cup playoffs are now headed for their seventh Game 7, with this one to determine the last berth in the finals -- and the last once and perhaps future champion standing.