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Stanley Cup Playoffs: What You Need to Know, May 18

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

More Playoffs: Schedule, TV listings | Expert Picks | Bracket | Scores | Odds

Every night during the playoffs, we will wrap up all the exciting action and tell you what you need to know about the 2013-14 Stanley Cup playoffs. Welcome to What You Need To Know.

Blackhawks win 3-1 | CHI leads series 1-0 | Game 2 Wed.

Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks were severely dominated in possession in this game, though you wouldn't know it by the scoreline. A strong start and finish to the game was enough for the Blackhawks to knock off the Kings. Chicago wasn't very good in the second period, as LA just controlled the play, but the Blackhawks came out of the middle period with a 2-1 lead. They really got going in the third period, though. Everything looked better in the final frame as the Blackhawks played confidently with the lead. Despite the poor second, the Blackhawks had flashes of brilliance at both ends of the ice. Good goaltending from Corey Crawford was so huge for the team as he made sure that second period didn't get out of hand. There is a fair amount to work on after this game, but if nothing else, the Blackhawks showed they could finish a game, which is something they struggled to do early in the postseason. That third period was a strong one.

Los Angeles Kings: From the tight turnaround between this series and their seven-game marathon against the Anaheim Ducks, you wouldn't have blamed the Kings if they were flat in Game 1. But they weren't at all. The Kings actually had the better of the play in the game, bolstered by a second period in which they outshot the Blackhawks 17-6. They only got one goal out of the onslaught, which in the end was all they'd get. The Kings stuck to what has made them successful in these playoffs, but ran into a solid goalie and some strong defensive play from the Blackhawks. The game evened out in the third period and the Kings came close to tying the score on a Tyler Toffoli breakaway, but he hit the post. If that puck goes in, it's a different game. Those are the breaks in a tight series. Now LA gets two full days off to unwind from a very busy 48 hours and recharge knowing they were in this one to the end.

Play of the Game: After he had a goal disallowed earlier in the game, Jonathan Toews got rewarded when the Blackhawks found themselves on a three-on-one break. After Bryan Bickell absorbed a check, Marian Hossa started a rush up ice. He was joined by Johnny Oduya and Toews. Hossa dropped the puck to Oduya, who then sent a no-look pass to Toews for a one-timed snap shot into the top of the net. That made it 3-1 late in the third period and pretty much iced the game for the Blackhawks. From the way the play started to the finish, this was the game's prettiest goal and it was a huge one for Chicago.

Player of the Game: The nod goes to Corey Crawford for his 25-save performance, most notably his 16-save effort in the second period. Had he not been there to help the Blackhawks weather that storm, it could have been a very different game. After his performance during Chicago's Cup run last year and how he has been going throughout this postseason, Crawford should become better known as a reliable postseason goalie. He was just so steady in this game and it allowed Chicago to keep pressing even when they were struggling.

Turning Point: The Blackhawks surviving the second period was probably the most important aspect of this game, so the buzzer after the second was probably the turning point. After being badly outshot 17-6 and having that goal disallowed, the Blackhawks managed to come out of the second still in the lead at 2-1. When Chicago came out for the third period, everything seemed a fair amount more even. Weathering that second period storm and surviving with the lead was huge for them.

GIF of the Game: Marian Hossa might be 35. He might be widely considered as a highly-skilled player, which doesn't get him much street cred for his toughness. But make no mistake, Hossa's physical strength is as good as anybody's. Dustin Brown got a good idea of just how strong Hossa is as he attempted to hit the Blackhawks forward. The end result? Brown on his rear end, violently.

 
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