Chicago Blackhawks Hockey – For the first time in the 2014 NHL Playoffs, Chicago dropped a home game as the Blackhawks fell 6-2 to the LA Kings late last night. It was an ignominious defeat, with Chicago’s defense letting in five goals in the third period after dominating in the first and second. The loss was made only more embarrassing by the glowing articles written about them yesterday. My particular favorite piece ‘Blackhawks fans living through Golden Age of Chicago hockey, by Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times, creates an air of nostalgia for our time as Hawks fans so thick that you can practically taste your own tears as you read.

The Blackhawks kept the Kings’ offense on their heels all throughout the first and the second, spending most of their time in the Kings zone; however, something changed for the Blackhawks between the second and third periods.

Jeff Carter and the Kings — dibs on that band name — had a stellar third, outshining the Blackhawks and made you wonder if you had switched the channel to an entirely different game.

Sadly, you realized, you hadn’t.

Carter wrapped up a hat trick, his first and hopefully only one of the series, in the third period. Jake Muzzin and Tyler Toffoli also put pucks past Crawford for the Kings, having found their feet in the third. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, on the other hand, performed admirably throughout the entire game, going so hard for pucks he even lost his helmet in the first, and still continued to scramble for possession.

Some might look to the goal by Kings forward Justin Williams late in the second as the turning point in the game, but the beginning of the second is actually where things changed for the Kings. They came out in the second playing cleaner, meaner hockey. They stayed out of the penalty box, delivered smart, hard hits, and skated their legs off. By the third period, their new lease on play showed.

The Hawks’ third period was sloppy, turnover after turnover, giving the Kings more than their fair share of chances at the net, while barely present on the ice. It seemed as though they thought the third period was attendance-optional.

Quenneville had some hard things to say about his team’s performance in the last period of the game.

Forwards Brandon Bollig (LW) and Peter Regin (C) both took foolish penalties in the third — Bollig for hooking and Regin for too many men — that led to the Kings power play scoring almost immediately in both instances.

Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville hasn’t hesitated to use a healthy scratch as motivation to do better, something Bollig can testify to. It will be interesting to see who is on the roster for game three in L.A. against the Kings.

Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews agreed with Quenneville’s assessment of the unraveling of the team, saying:

To give the Kings their due, they learned from their mistakes in the first and second, switching up their power play for the third and sticking more men in front of Crawford in order to block his sightlines. This switch in tactics led to multiple goals for the Kings.

If the Blackhawks are smart, they’ll take this opportunity to revise their penalty kill, tighten up their normally superb defense, and pledge to spend more time on O. This was a demoralizing game for the Hawks, but what kind of team they are will be determined by how they react to this kind of loss.

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Kate Cimini

Guest Columnist




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