Blackhawks take Game 1 in nearly flawless fashion

Blackhawks take Game 1 in nearly flawless fashion

That's how it's done, folks.

From the opening puck drop to the final horn, the Chicago Blackhawks absolutely dominated the Los Angeles Kings, and now hold a 1 game to nothing lead in the Western Conference Finals.

The Hawks opened the game with a 9-0 shot advantage.  By the time the smoke cleared, they had outshot the Kings 36-22.

For the Kings, Jonathan Quick was as good as advertised, especially in the first period.  He held off 17 Chicago shots (many of them prime scoring chances.)  On the other end, Corey Crawford was beaten on a fluke goal after a busted play behind his own net.  Justin Williams deflected an errant Dave Bolland clearing pass to make it 1-0 Kings, and that's how the 1st period ended.

In the second, Patrick Sharp scored off a Johnny Oduya rebound shot. Less that 4 minutes later Marian Hossa redirected a Duncan Keith point shot and those all the goal the Hawks needed.

While the Kings generated a few chances in the 2nd and 3rd, the lead (to me) never really felt in jeopardy.  The Hawks smothered the Kings defensively, and never allowed a second chance opportunity.


- Methinks Dave Bolland will be getting a call from the NHL's Player Safety division.  His 3rd period hit on Mike Richards was highly illegal, mainly because Bolland left his feet and seemed to target Richards' head.  I think a game suspension would be fair, but I wouldn't be shocked if it was 2-3, especially if Richards misses a game or two.  He certainly looked groggy when he got off the ice.

UPDATE SUNDAY : Bolland will NOT face a hearing or suspension for his hit on Richards.  I still think he left his feet.  Good news, though.

- The physicality in the game surprised me.  The Kings, who pretty much everyone expected to come out and physically hammer the Hawks, didn't play with the "kill 'em all" mentality with which they usually play.  The Hawks, on the other hand, were as aggressive as we've seen them all season.  Look no further than Viktor Stalberg's crushing hit on Jake Muzzin. The Blackhawks were credited with 38 hits.  That's saying something when they controlled the puck for much of the game.

- I really liked the Hawks' approach on beating Quick.  You could tell the Hawks were aiming high, and throwing quick point shots at the goal.  Quick stopped most of them, but there were 2-3 shots I don't think he saw clearly that just happened to hit him.

- WARNING : Do not draw any serious conclusions on this series based on this game.  I fully expect the Kings to come harder and faster tomorrow.  Everyone wrote off the Red Wings after Game 1.  That was a huge mistake.  Don't make the same mistake twice.

--I'll be on the air Saturday night with Hub Arkush and Sunday night with Nick Shepkowski.  Tune in to 670AM and listen, won't you?

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