Konroyd's keys to Game 3 of Blackhawks-Kings

Konroyd's keys to Game 3 of Blackhawks-Kings
June 4, 2013, 1:00 pm
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Steve Konroyd

1. Weather a King-sized storm early: The L.A. Kings have knocked off two very good teams in getting to the Western Conference finals. For the last two games, they have not looked very good themselves. They have won seven consecutive postseason games at the Staples Center, and 14 in a row if you go back to last year's successful Stanley Cup run. They will come out fast and furious tonight, playing like their playoff lives depend on it. Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, and Mike Richards (who is sidelined for Game 3) have been non-factors to this point. That has to change if the Kings want to extend the series beyond two more games. Get ready for a strong push back from L.A. On a side note, Chicago has won 12 straight series when winning the first two games of the matchup, and six of those ended in four-game sweeps.

[RELATED: Blackhawks looking to conquer King's home ice]

2. Test Quick early and often; you might be in his head: Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick had gone 35 consecutive playoff games without giving up more than three goals. That streak ended less than halfway through the last game when the Blackhawks pumped four goals past the All-Star netminder on just 17 shots. He didn’t look comfortable on Brent Seabrook’s or Michal Handzus’ tally, and the last time he faced Chicago at the Staples Center back in January, they hung five on him on just 22 shots. They may or may not be in his head, but there’s only one way to find out: Shots early and often from everybody.

3. Continue the aggressive play from your defensemen: I’m not talking about laying guys out with big hits or clearing the front of the net on opposition shots. I’m talking about the aggressive way that Chicago has pinched in at the opposition's blue line, creating turnovers that lead to shots on net. I’m talking about taking an aggressive stand at the red line when L.A. is attacking with the puck and you have numbers coming back. I’m talking about breaking the puck out up the middle of the ice in your own end when the Kings are taking away the boards. The Blackhawk defensemen have done each of these things very effectively over the first two games, and they have to keep this impressive job up.