Despite playing a much more effective offensive game in the early stages, the Los Angeles Kings still fell behind early on Sunday night to the Chicago Blackhawks, and couldn’t ever get back in the game, dropping a 4-2 decision and falling behind in the best of seven series two games to none.
Jonathan Quick made only 17 saves and allowed four goals before getting pulled by head coach Darryl Sutter, and even though backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier was able to shut the door for the rest of the game, the Kings just couldn’t ever figure out how to beat Corey Crawford and the Blackhawks in this game.
The Kings had the early edge in puck possession time, taking 13 shots against Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford. They unfortunately fell into the same pattern that the Blackhawks did in the first period of Game 1, taking shots mostly from the perimeter and without adequate traffic in front in order to disrupt Crawford’s rhythm.
As a result, Crawford stopped all 13 of the shots, and gave the Hawks a big boost in confidence heading into the locker room. That was on full display as the Hawks completely dominated the play in the second period.
Outshooting the Kings 11-5, Chicago outscored the Kings 2-1 and ended up chasing Quick from the game after a tremendous 2-on-1 goal by Michal Handzus.
The third period didn’t end up much better for the Kings, as Jonathan Bernier didn’t get much support from his offense. The Kings just couldn’t seem to get their offensive rhythm going, with only five shots to their credit through the first half of the frame.
They were still throwing plenty of hits and were asserting themselves physically, but the Hawks were content to just play keep-away with the puck in order to hold onto their lead, and nothing the Kings tried could change the momentum of the contest.
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For the Kings, the hope that they can cling to moving forward is that they are heading home to the Staples Center for Game 3 on Tuesday night.
They have won 14 consecutive games, including the regular season, at their home arena, and they will be hoping that some home cooking will be just what the doctor ordered as they try to climb back into the series.