The Chicago Blackhawks can punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals with a victory over the Los Angeles Kings Saturday night in Game Five of the Western Conference finals at the United Center.
Up 3-1, the Blackhawks can reach the 12th Cup Final in franchise history, and their second in the last four years.
Defending champion Los Angeles had won 15 straight at home until Game Four, when Chicago won 3-2 with goals from Bryan Bickell, Patrick Kane, and Marian Hossa. Five-year veteran Bickell is now tied for the team-high in playoff goals with eight, and has scored in three straight games.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick stopped 25 of 28 Chicago shots, failing to follow up is strong 19 save one-goal performance in Game Three.
Los Angeles has averaged just over two goals a game this series, and are severely missing the offense of team captain Dustin Brown and regular season points-leader Anze Kopitar. Neither has scored in this series, as Brown has one goal in the last nine games, and Kopitar has one goal in the last 13 games.
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Instead, right wing Justin Williams and defenseman Slava Voynov have led the Kings offense during the conference finals. The second-year Voynov has two goals and three assists in the last three games.
Chicago keeper Corey Crawford could be the reason the Kings offense has stalled. The Montreal native has a .931 save percentage this series, blocking 94 of 101 shots.
Kings center Mike Richards is reportedly skating, but his status for Game Five won’t be known until game time.
Should Los Angeles force a Game Six, it will be back in the Staples Center on Monday night.
The game begins at 8 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast by NBC, or watch their free live online stream at NBC Live Extra here.
Betting Odds: Chicago is favored by 1.5 goals.
Over/Under: 4.5 goals
Prediction: Chicago 2-1