The Hawks did something last night that no other team was able to do this post season: win in Los Angeles. The 3-2 victory by the Blackhawks over the Kings gives them a decisive 3 game to 1 lead over the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
The Kings were able to grab the lead early in the first period when their high scoring defenseman Slava Voyva took advantage of a Hawk turnover and scored his seventh goal of the playoffs.
As the Blackhawks best defenseman Duncan Keith was suspended for his retaliation hit on Los Angeles' Jeff Carter, Nik Hjalmarsson was outstanding on the ice. He did all the little things to keep his team in the game. Hjalmarsson had two assists, one in the first period with Michael Frolik that allowed Bryan Bickell to knock in another playoff goal (his eighth). Bickell’s post season offensive output has been the most intriguing story this year.
In the second period, the Kings took a 2-1 advantage when Dustin Penner was able to poke the puck in on a Corey Crawford misplay. Later in the period, it was Hjalmarsson shooting the puck towards the net. Bickell re-directed it and Patrick Kane tipped it in to knot up the game at 2. It was Kane’s first goal of this series. Boy, the Blackhawks need him score.
The best came in the final period when the Hawks took advantage of a LA line change. Slovakian national teammates went to work, Marian Hossa got a pretty pass from Michal Handzus and Hossa scored his tenth playoff game winner. The Hawks held on with the Kings pulling goalie Jonathan Quick at the end. There were no streamers last night at the Staples Center, just shocked fans and Kings players.
Now the triumphant Blackhawks will come home and have a great opportunity to close out the Western Conference Finals at the United Center on Saturday. It should be a wild night.
Last night the future for the Cubs and Sox were in the spotlight with Major League's Baseball's 2013 draft.
The Cubs had the more significant pick since they had the second overall selection. They went with a position player when one of the top pitchers was still available. The Cubs grabbed right-hand hitting third base slugger Kris Bryant next. The 6'5" player is considered a real plum pick to add to this rebuilding team.
A native of Las Vegas, Bryant is a junior from the University of San Diego and this year he led the nation with home runs (31), runs scored, walks (66) and slugging percentage (.820). As to the player the Cubs passed up, Johnny Gray from Oklahoma went next to Colorado, he is a dominating right hand pitcher. It won't take long to figure out if the Cubs did a good job with their pick. Bryant will likely be in the minors a year or two.
The White Sox had a lot of needs to fill since the cupboard is pretty bare in their minor league system. They went with a junior college shortstop, Tim Anderson from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is considered a speedy, athletic prospect who hit .495 with 10 home runs and 41 stolen bases for East Central Community College in Decatur, Mississippi. For the second straight year the Sox took an African American player as their top pick.