I had a bad feeling when L.A. tied last night's game midway through the third period. In a series in which both teams at times seemed almost to score at will, the law of averages said that it might well be the Kings' turn to put the biscuit in the basket if it went to sudden death.
And so, alas, it was. The Blackhawk dynasty has been delayed for another twelve months or so. C'est la vie, as they'd say in Montreal.
One thing about having a team as good as the Blackhawks is that you can reasonably expect them to be back next year for another go. More on that theme from The Hockey News here.
There is no question that having handled LA last year in the playoffs and had such success against them this year during the regular season caused the Hawks and their fans to sell them short. That won't happen again. And it was probably good for the Hawks to realize that there was another team in the hunt for Lord Stanley's mug that also had heart, and could be counted on to come through when the chips are down. Just as the Kings made adjustments this year to deal with their weaknesses, the Hawks will this summer. A second-line center would help- and a decision has to be made as to whether or not Corey Crawford can deliver the kind of consistent play in goal a consistent winner simply has to have.
If not, Ryan Miller's availability on the free agent market will certainly mean that a quality goaltender is going to come loose someplace.
I'll probably root for the Rangers in the Finals, to the limited extent that I pay attention at all. New York, after all, will be the underdog, and historically has a relationship with the Stanley Cup something like that of the Cubs with the World Series. But I expect the Kings to win- and they will be worthy champions.
So take care of our Cup for us, Kings. This isn't over.
See you next May.