1. “King-sized” game from Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp: Kane and Sharp are two dynamic players who are normally point-per-game guys. They can change the complexion of a game in one shift. Each have totaled just one goal and no assists in their last four games. Sharp’s came with just four seconds left in their last game Saturday night. They both have 12 shots over this dry spell, so they’re getting their looks. But something is missing, that extra step, that excitement when they get the puck and they know something good is about to happen. These two need to re-energize now that the team really needs them. Want the puck, use your speed and smarts, and get the Los Angeles Kings defense back on their heels.
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2. Shut down “That 70’s Line”: Don’t look now, but the LA Kings have won four or their last five games. A big part of this run has been That 70’s Line, consisting of Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson (each wears a jersey number in the 70’s). Carter has been the No. 1 star the last two games and has eight points in the three games he has played against the Blackhawks in this Conference Final. The line has struck for 15 points in the series, not bad for a couple of wingers who are really getting their first taste of postseason action. You have to respect their speed, because they have lots of it, and try to play in their end when they are on the ice.
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3. Special teams have been the deciding factor: Stats don’t always tell the truth, but in this series they have been spot on. Whoever wins the special teams battle has gone on to win the game. When you look at the last game, it was telling that the Blackhawks had three consecutive power plays in the second period and yet managed just two shots on net. This was probably the turning point in the game, and the power play has to be better. Just 1-for-21 on the road now, and they have been losing momentum when going with the extra man. Make the Kings afraid to take penalties, because right now they are playing with confidence and some bite to their game. A couple of power play goals would change this mindset, and get the Kings to back off just a little bit.