It has not been a particularly memorable series for the Canadian Olympian who was a key contributor to the Hawks' Cup wins in 2010 and 2013. Sharp entered Game 6 with one goal in the series, and that one was scored as time was running out in a Game 4 loss with the outcome already decided. But on Friday he had his best game of the series and one of his best in the postseason. He matched teammate Patrick Kane with a game-high five shots and earned the primary assist on Ben Smith's goal early in the second period that gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead. If Sharp -- who had been demoted to the team's third line -- can bring that level of play to Game 7, it will allow head coach Joel Quenneville to double-shift Kane at times with Sharp.
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
One of the best lines after Game 6 came from Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty when asked about trying to contain Kane, who had just lit up the Kings for two goals and an assist and had seven points in the last two games. "You know what? Last game, yeah, he got four assists, but I didn't even think it was like he dominated the game. The stat sheet tells a different story than the actual game," Doughty said, prompting arched eyebrows from the reporters surrounding him.
Well, what about in Game 6 when he set up the tying goal in the third and then made a marvelous play to find time and space in which to send the winner to the net through a crowd?
"I guess not on that goal. I guess the other goal, too, where he passed it to the D-man [ Duncan Keith] so, yeah, we didn't do a good enough job on him tonight," Doughty acknowledged.
OK, that's better. To put it succinctly, Kane is simply in a zone that only a handful of players get to. After four forgettable games to start the series, Kane has become unstoppable playing alongside new linemates Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw. They forced turnover after turnover in the Kings' zone and constantly found excellent shooting lanes. Given Kane's penchant for producing big things in big games, no reason to expect Sunday will be any different.
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Speaking of Doughty, here's another guy who's bringing the heat. He has been banging Blackhawks all series and, when he's not dumping them on their butts, he's been making life miserable for Chicago netminder Corey Crawford. For a time in the third period of Game 6, it looked as though Doughty would single-handedly send the Kings back to the finals with a goal and an assist in a 2:06 span that gave the Kings a 3-2 lead. Doughty has seven points in the series and led all skaters with 26:10 in ice time in Game 6, two days after logging 39:04 in the Kings' double-overtime loss in Game 5. He's a horse, and it will be a major shock if he isn't in the 30-minute range in Game 7 (unless it goes to overtime, which is a distinct possibility). Could fatigue be a factor? Hard to imagine, given the engine that drives Doughty.
Jeff Carter (And That 70s Line), Los Angeles Kings