Blackhawks Can Win Because…
They finally got their offense going. They got five goals past Jonathan Quick, who had previously looked like a brick wall. On top of that, a number of their forwards got loose including Patrick Kane, who had four assists. The Blackhawks also won the special teams battle, going 1-for-4 on the power play themselves while killing off all three of the Kings power plays. Previously, they had a really tough time killing off penalties.
The Blackhawks need more of the same. They’ll need Kane to show up in a big way again and hopefully get some help from Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp. If the Blackhawks can do that, there will be a Game 7.
The Los Angeles Kings Can Win Because…
The Blackhawks have no answers for the Kings offense. Los Angeles has now scored at least four goals in each of the last four games in this series. Considering they allowed just 2.05 goals per game this season, which was the lowest in the NHL, this team is going to be nearly impossible to beat if they average 4.0 goals per game.
What’s discouraging for the Blackhawks is that they couldn’t run away with Game 5. They scored the first goal and held a lead of 3-1 but the Kings fought back. The Blackhawks have no answer for the Kings when they get their forecheck going and that’s a concern. Goaltender Corey Crawford has a pitiful .882 save percentage in this series. The Blackhawks simply can’t win with him playing like that.
Outlook & Pick
The Blackhawks needed every ounce of effort to get a win in Game 5 and even then, it was a double-overtime squeaker. Now that the Kings are back at home, take them with your NHL picks as they should take care of business. Their offense looks unstoppable right now, which is a problem for Chicago. Meanwhile, I expect Jonathan Quick and the Kings defense to bounce back.