The Los Angeles Kings sit one win away from their second Stanley Cup Final in three seasons. Much like 2012’s spectacular run they got there after being consistently inconsistent for much of the regular season. Jonathan Quick stonewalled the Chicago Blackhawks when they were able to muster an attack, especially during a last-ditch rally in the third period and the guys in front of him played without question their most dominant game of the postseason.
The Kings’ dominance in the game was no more apparent than when Anze Kopitar stole the puck from Blackhawks’ defenseman (and Norris Trophy finalist) Duncan Keith and got it to Marian Gaborik who netted his tenth goal of the playoffs to become only the third King to ever have double-digit goals in the playoffs (joining two guys named Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille). On the topic of Norris finalists, the notably Norris-snubbed Drew Doughty played yet another strong game having yet another multi-point game. He also played great defense and further vaulted himself into Conn Smythe consideration.
Kopitar and Jeff Carter kept up the pressure and set the tempo early. Even Dustin Brown got in on the action scoring on the power play in the first period off of a freakish deflection in front for his first goal in the month of May (a span of 10 games). When the Kings are playing at their game as well as they have and Quick plays to the level he’s capable of, they are unbeatable and the defending champions are finding that out the hard way.
Going into and getting the win at United Center will not be easy, but this Kings team doesn’t like it easy. They have trailed 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks in the first round, faced elimination twice against the Anaheim Ducks, been down 2-0 in Game 2 to the Blackhawks after losing Game 1 before exploding offensively in the next seven periods of hockey; this team loves adversity. While the “Madhouse on Madison” will surely be rocking, the Kings will be up to the challenge as they will win Game 5, advance to the Stanley Cup Final and exact revenge on the Blackhawks for knocking them out of last year’s Conference Finals.