A 6-2 victory at the United Center last night secured a split for the Los Angeles Kings in their Western Conference Finals matchup versus the Chicago Blackhawks. With each team needing three more wins to book their ticket to the Stanley Cup final, stealing home-ice advantage away from the Blackhawks is a feat of its own.
A loss at the Madhouse on Madison is a rarity for Jonathan Toews’ squad and the defeat in Game 2 was their first of this year’s playoffs and only the third in the team’s last 20 home-playoff games. The Blackhawks looked to be taking a 2-0 lead into the second intermission, but a Justin Williams goal with just under two minutes left in the second gave the Kings the confidence to get back in the game. Jarret Stoll said the Kings attitude in the second intermission was one that looked to bring an end to the Blackhawks impressive streak on home ice.
“We all know what their record has been in the last two years, especially in this building,” the 10-year veteran told Kings Vision after the game. “We all knew we could do better, push more and we did that in the third.”
For 38 minutes, the Blackhawks pushed the pace of the game and generated more scoring chances, but it only took a couple seconds for momentum to switch.
“The way it turned on a dime like that, I don’t think we’ve seen a game all year like that,” said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville to Blackhawks TV. “We’re doing everything right and then all of the sudden it’s a disaster.”
The pre-game atmosphere during the national anthem is a well-known tradition in Chicago that originated back in at the old Chicago Stadium in 1985. Commentators and analysts talk about visting teams having to weather the storm of the opening minutes of a playoff game, well in that case, you have to wonder what it’s like to weather the tsunami that is the United Center come playoff time.
The Kings managed to withstand the the electricity of the United Center for now and will now play their set of home games at the friendly combines of the Staples Center. If their trip to the Stanley Cup final is to continue, they have to tame the Madhouse at least one more time.