Mr. Clutch and Hawks Force Game 7
When you think “clutch”, you think Patrick Kane. Last night in Game 6, he proved to be nothing less, when he scored his 21st 3rd period or overtime goal in his short career.
The Hawks showed yet again that they would not go down without a fight and gutted out a late victory against the Kings to keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive. After a somewhat anticlimactic start, the series has picked up significant pace and many pundits are calling it the best they have ever seen. End to end play, clutch goaltending, stars playing big.
The Kings struck first with the lone first period goal from Dwight King and the Hawks responded with two goals in the second. Kane scored the first on a power play on a great give and go from Jonathan Toews. Ben Smith banked his goal off Jonathan Quick skate from behind the net.
LA scored two in the third to take the lead 3-2 and the crowd was getting reading to celebrate another trip to the Cup. But the Hawks had other ideas. Duncan Keith scored on a laser shot on a beautiful backhand pass from Kaner to even the game at 3. With 4 minutes left, Kane took loose puck by the goal line to the right of Quick. He circled out to the blue line past 3 Kings and then fired a one timer past Quick from the left circle. This prompted ESPN to tweet “Kane the most clutch player in the NHL”. The Hawks bench exploded then kept the Kings scoreless for the remainder of a game, which included some clutch saves by Crawford, blocked shots by the veteran defensemen and a breathtaking goal mouth scramble as time expired.
Corey Crawford and Jonathan Quick exchanged words on the ice as they skated to intermission, but Crawford’s play should have been the only topic of conversation as he tallied 26 saves and the win. Crawford certainly proved to be the better goalie in last night’s contest, and it seems as though this series is going to come down to who is the better goaltender.
There has been a lot of talk regarding who the better team truly is between the two, with no one having a definite answer. Sure, the Hawks are beyond talented, but so are the Kings. Last night, grit and heart proved to be the difference maker. When the Hawks want something bad enough, they make it happen. They forget about past losses or mistakes, and focus only on the shift, period, game at hand. Captain Jonathan Toews said after the game: “We’re just willing our way to getting those bounces and getting those chances,” Toews said. “If you want it bad enough, you can will your way to getting things to go your way. We’re doing that right now.”
If last night is any indication, they’ll be willing their way to the Cup come June 4th.