The Kings head home for Game 3 tonight, they are down 2-0 to the President Trophy winning Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks were in tough in Round 2 vs. the Red Wings but have jumped out to a 2-0 lead against the Kings after two strong home games. They head on the road for games 3 and 4 where they are 2-3 in the post-season. Despite being down two games the Kings are not in panic mode just yet because they love playing at the Staples Center. Los Angeles is 7-0 at home in the post-season and 14-0 in their last 14 games. Their last loss at home was 74 days ago on March 23 when they were beat 1-0 by Vancouver.
The Kings were without one of their best forwards Mike Richards in Game 2 after he took a hard hit from Dave Bolland in the first game of the series. Los Angeles is saying that the injury is an ‘upper-body injury’ however their was some speculation after warmups that he is dealing with a concussion. If that is the case then it is highly unlikely that he will be in the Kings lineup tonight.
The Blackhawks have been led by Patrick Sharp all post-season and the Conference Finals have been no different. He scored their first goal of the series and then added two assists in Game 2. Sharp has eight goals and six assists for 14 points in 14 games which has him ranked sixth in Playoff scoring.
Game 2 was an ugly one for Jonathan Quick. He gave up four goals on 17 shots and only lasted 29:20 before being pulled in favor of Jonathan Bernier. In the other crease, Corey Crawford continued his outstanding post-season stopping 29 of 31 shots. This series features the two best goalies in the playoffs. Crawford has a 1.67 GAA and even after being pulled Quick posts a 1.76. Quick should be back in goal tonight despite a tough Sunday night.
Players to Watch in Game 3:
Los Angeles Kings – Jeff Carter
If Richards can not play in Game 3 then Carter will be leaned on heavily to play as well as he did in Game 2. Carter, Dustin Penner and rookie Tyler Toffoli were definitely the Kings best line. They scored both of Los Angeles’ goals and will need to have a repeat performance because their top line is struggling. Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown each had 20 points in 20 games in last year’s playoffs, but Kopitar has just seven points while Brown only four in 15 games this post-season.
Chicago Blackhawks – Marian Hossa
It is tough to pick a player to watch for the Blackhawks right now because they are all playing at such a high level. That being said Hossa has a goal and an assist in two games of this series which gives him 13 points in the playoffs, just one behind Sharp. He is a very dangerous player because of his speed but he is also a great two-way player, making him an ideal playoff performer.