LOS ANGELES – Coming from a double overtime loss to Chicago in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final, the Kings wanted to end the series last night in front of their home crowd. But despite taking the lead from a 2-1 deficit in the third period, the Kings could not stop the Blackhawks from clawing back and stealing the game.
Although the Kings showed signs of ferocity last night (much like they did in Game 5, when they battled back from being behind 3-1), their defensive lapses allowed Chicago to swing the game back the other way.
The similarities between Games 5 and 6 don't end with Chicago's come-from-behind wins. Chicago's Patrick Kane was a dominant factor in both games, with four assists in Game 5, and two goals and one assist last night. Kane was seemingly neutralized up until these two games.
Continuing with the reversals of fortune, Anze Kopitar, who has been the Kings' top player in these Playoffs, was limited to no goals and one assist in Game 5, and no goals or assists in Game 6.
In order to win Game 7 in Chicago, the Kings will need to change gears defensively. There doesn't seem to be a shortage of goal-scoring (or goal-scoring chances, for that matter) for Los Angeles, but the Kings cannot continue to allow the Blackhawks to find comfortable passing lanes, and room to skate.
If the Kings stand as the victors after Game 7 tomorrow night, they will be the first team to have won three seven-game series on the way to the Stanley Cup Final.