The on fire Chicago Blackhawks face the best goaltender left in the playoffs Saturday night as the Los Angeles Kings travel to the United Center for Game One of the Western Conference finals.
The Blackhawks charged back from a 3-1 series deficit and dispatched the Detroit Red Wings in seven games in the conference semifinals. Chicago has averaged more than three goals a game over its last three victories, led by right wing Marian Hossa’s four points.
Patrick Sharp scored his seventh playoff goal to hand Chicago a 1-0 second period lead in Game Seven, but Red Wing Henrik Zetterberg tied things up early in the third period.
It took defenseman Brent Seabrook’s first playoff goal in overtime to complete the incredible comeback, and Chicago advanced to its first conference final since 2010 when they won it all.
The Kings were stretched just as thin as Chicago, but didn’t have to play three consecutive elimination games to beat the San Jose Sharks.
L.A. right wing Justin Williams tallied the 18th and 19th playoff goals of his career in the second period of Game 7 versus the Sharks, and keeper Jonathan Quick improved his record to 8-5 in these playoffs with 25 saves.
The defending champion Kings are once again riding Quick through the postseason. The 26-year-old has the best save percentage at .948, a notch just above the .946 he posted last year when L.A. demolished all competition en route to the franchise’s first Cup last year.
Quick has proven he can contain all comers, but the Kings will need more help from wing Dustin Brown and regular season goal leader Jeff Carter. Brown notched one goal in a 2-1 Game 6 loss to San Jose, and has three goals in 13 games. Carter has been held to two points in the last five games.
The game starts at 5 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast by NBC Sports, or watch their live online stream at NBC Live Extra here.
Betting Odds: Chicago is favored by 1.5 goals
Over/Under: 5 goals
Prediction: Chicago 2-1
Currently covering NBA, NFL, MLB, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, focusing on trades, controversy, and injury updates. Joined IB Times in August 2012.