Yeah, you were expecting that, weren’t you? Well, despite saving their hides in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, the Chicago Blackhawks still need to find a way to beat the Los Angeles Kings. The good news is, they found a way to match the Kings’ intensity. The bad news is, they’ll need to keep it up.
To that end, they’ll need to make some necessary adjustments to finish off the improbable, but possible, comeback.
The first thing they need to do is to solidify the defense. The defense, despite being shaken up, still gave up 4 goals. But as I mentioned, the Kings are good. But they have to get Jeff Carter away from Corey Crawford, and they cannot let Tyler Toffoli skate circles around them. Speaking of Crawford, he’s actually playing pretty well. He’s just having to deal with the Kings skating circles around his defense.
And that brings us to the offense. It’s amazing it took so long for the offense to finally get to the level it was at last night after three straight games being held to so few goals. The line of Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw looks to be a revelation for Joel Quenneville, and he should keep them together. He should also continue to send his defense on the attack like he did and keep up the aggression on offense.
But there are also roster moves that need to be made. I’ve criticized Michal Handzus many times, but after that goal in Game 5, it looks like he’s going to stick around for the time being. Kris Versteeg, however, needs to get off the roster. After giving up a bad pass that led to Dustin Brown‘s goal, Versteeg sat for the rest of the game.
If that’s the case, then he should not be in the lineup. With Peter Regin waiting in the wings, it’s time to bring him back to give the lineup a much-needed spark.
The Blackhawks can win this series. That doesn’t mean it will be easy. The Kings have been outplaying them for most of the series. But now the Hawks have to turn it back at the Kings. If they can make the adjustments they need, then there’s no reason why they can’t win this series.