The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks came to LA to play the tough home team Kings. The Kings came in with a 13-8-0 record and 8-1 at home while the Blackhawks were just 12-11-2 this year in what has been a let down for them. They lost quite a few key players from their team last year due to the salary cap and free agency but still have the core with captain Jonathan Toews (Playoff MVP), Assistant captain and sniper Patrick Sharp (team leading 14 goals and 25 points) & Patrick Kane (Speedster and scored the game ending Stanley Cup goal last year).
Both goalies (Jonathon Quick for the Kings) and backup Corey Crawford for Chicago were fantastic in goal making point blank saves to keep the game low scoring. Score was 0-0 after the first period before the visitors took a 1-0 lead on an unlucky bounce that resulted in a 2 on 1 with Kane sliding a perfect pass to Sharp who scored. The Kings couldn’t break through but had their chances. Then Tomas Kopecky threw a pass toward the net and Patrick Kane somehow got a stick on it to deflect it in to make it 2-0.
There were some battles and fights including huge John Scott pummeling Kevin Westgarth in a one on one fight. Then there was a full brawl with both teams getting into it. The Kings came away with a power play with Toews getting a double minor while the Kings only got one penalty. Then Dave Bolland got called for high sticking so the Kings had a two man power play. Finally Anze Kopitar scored with the extra man advantage but it was too little too late and the final was 2-1. The Kings were very aggressive and played well late in the period but couldn’t beat Crawford again even with some close chances after they pulled Quick.
I talked to some of the Kings including Dustin Brown and Rob Scuderi and they were disappointed that they couldn’t get a better effort earlier. Their next game is at Anaheim vs. the Ducks to try to get back on track vs. their local rivals. More at www.kings.nhl.com