There haven't been too many of these this season. The Hawks (24-4-3) welcomed in the Los Angeles Kings (18-12-2) to the United Center last night, looking to take advantage of a team which lost back-to-back shutouts. The result was a lack of defense throughout, and especially when it counted at the end.
It isn't often we see the Hawks play sluggish on defense, which they put on display last night by skating in circles while the Kings offense grabbed rebound after rebound, all while snatching up everything the Hawks turned over. And we also saw Patrick Kane get a boarding penalty after cracking Rob Scuderi in a display of frustration.
The game did start on a high note, however, with Michael Frolik snapping a wrister past Kings' goalie Jonathan Quick. It was Frolik's first goal since the season opener against this same team. Frolik got the bump to the Toews/Saad line with Marian Hossa still nursing his upper-body injury.
The first period came to a close with the Hawks looking to cruise through this one and make it a clean 3-game sweep of the Kings during this lockout-shortened season. The Hawks outshot the Kings 11 to seven, and looked like a team that was well rested since its last game last Wednesday in Anaheim.
Then just 4 minutes, 21 seconds into the second period, Anže Kopitar tied the score after a beautiful goal that beat Hawks' goalie Corey Crawford top shelf. The, just 3 minutes, 4 seconds later, center Jarret Stoll gave the Kings the lead with a short-handed goal that quieted the UC crowd.
Frolik got the crowd back up on its feet after scoring his second goal of the game, after deflecting a Duncan Keith blaster from near the blue line. Then, Patrick Kane gave the Hawks the 3-2 lead with another jaw-dropping, "how did he do that?" goal by slipping it past Quick.
Just when the Hawks thought they were ready to keep the lead for good, Dwight King rushed the net towards Corey Crawford to poke in the game-tying goal with one second remaining in the second period. The play went to review to check if the puck was kicked in by a player, but the phone call to Toronto didn't reveal good news for Hawks fans as the goal was considered good.The UC crowd got a little extra entertainment in their evening as they cheered/booed local comedian/actor Jim Belushi during the always-popular shoot the puck contest. Belushi would miss all three attempts, but found solace in the mixed reaction of the sold-out arena.
The third period got under way with the Captain himself, Jonathan Toews, giving his team the lead after knocking a backhander past Quick after Frolik shot for his attempt at a hat trick. The Hawks led 4-3, but that would soon fall from their grasp as Tyler Toffoli tied things up after a wrister past Crawford. Dustin Brown then gave the Kings the lead for good with only 1 minutes, 27 seconds remaining in regulation after knocking in a rebound which actually bounced off of Johnny Oduya which made for a final score of 5 to 4.
The defense for the Hawks was certainly subpar, and stating that not having an injured Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa on the ice isn't looking at the entire picture of what transpired last night. Crawford missed a few goals that could have been stopped, but the defense didn't help matters any by allowing their net minder to face 36 shots (the Hawks ended up with just 25).
The Hawks look to rebound tonight by welcoming in the Calgary Flames (12-14-4) with the puck dropping at 7:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet. The last time the Hawks played the Flames was in Calgary on Saturday, February 2, when Hossa electrified insomniacs back in Chicago after scoring a game-tying goal with 2.3 seconds remaining in regulation. The Hawks went on to win that one in a shootout.
The Hawks still find themselves three points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks after they fell to the San Jose Sharks at home last night by the final of 5 to 3.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.