LA Kings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in a tough defensive game at the Staples Center (12/09)

The LA Kings seem to be coming together. Despite key injuries to newcomers Ryan Smith and Rob Scuderi, the team keeps battling.  They took on the hot Chicago Blackhawks at the Staples Center on November 28, 09.  The game was pretty clean while the Kings out hit their guests.  

     The first period was filled with some good chances and fine goaltending.  Dustin Brown missed a great chance early shooting wide.  Cristobal Huet stopped Anze Kopitar on a breakaway while Kings goalie Jonathon Quick stopped a Patrick Kane breakaway.  Scott Parse just missed a tip in wide on a great pass from Michael Handzus and Jarret Stoll overshot the net at close range.

     The second period stayed the same until Wayne Simmonds scored his 8th goal of the year on a beautiful give and go from Handzus.  Kopitar barely missed a tip in before Huet jumped on the puck. Quick was on his game and credited his defense for clearing guys out in front of the net. He stopped Troy Brouwer on a breakaway, Marion Hossa at point blank range, Patrick Sharp to Kris Verteeg at point blank and tipped a Brent Seabrook shot wide.  The free agent Hossa, who just returned from a shoulder injury that has kept him out all season just missed wide on another shot.  Hossa has scored 2 goals in 2 games so far and is very dangerous.  His luck hasn’t been too good besides his recent injury.  2 years ago he played for Pittsburgh who lost to Detroit in the Stanley Cup Finals.  He jumped ship to sign with Detroit thinking that was his best shot to win a title until losing to his former team Pittsburgh last year.

     The third period started with the Blackhawks coming out on fire.  Defenseman Brent Sopel hit the goalpost on a slap shot that would have tied the game.  Shortly thereafter, Handzus was called for holding the stick by referee Mike Leggo on a questionable call.  That lead to a power play and captain Jonathon Toews tied the score at 1-1 beating Quick.  Huet robbed at Kopitar point blank while Kane and Sharp were denied on great opportunities by Quick.  The Kings goalie showed why he was voted the #1 star as he made a couple more incredible saves in the 3rd period against Toews and Hossa which forced overtime.  Some good chances turned to nil so the game would be decided by a penalty shootout.

Kopitar and Jack Johnson scored on the first two shots while Chicago came up empty.  The Kings played very well in this defensive juggernaut and won 2-1.   Coach Murray was very pleased with the effort he mentioned especially against one of the top teams this year in the western conference. Quick has become a standout goalie which has helped the Kings get to the higher level of play. He was very modest when I spoke to him noting a huge team effort (which it certainly was) but he has played outstanding this year.  Next up is a road game in Anaheim.   More at www.kings.nhl.com