Kings steamroll the Hawks with 6 straight goals, even the series - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Kings steamroll the Hawks with 6 straight goals, even the series

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Going into Game 2 my thinking was if the Los Angeles Kings didn’t win they could be in for a big uphill struggle. It seemed like the Chicago Blackhawks were playing a quicker game and starting to look like a dangerous team. Well, Los Angeles not only drew even in the series, they made a statement and skated off with a 6-2 victory. For now there’s no reason to rush to get a Stanley Cup parade permit as the advantage has swung toward the Kings.

It hasn’t happened very often but the Hawks were overwhelmed as Los Angeles scored six straight goals. For the first 35 minutes the Blackhawks were in control but great goaltending by Jonathan Quick and taking bad penalties helped reverse the tide. The Kings won their first game ever in Chicago in the postseason and now go back to Los Angeles with a home ice advantage.

There were some questionable calls against the Blackhawks but that’s the NHL. More than anything else the Kings did a great job of taking advantage of mistakes. They were the better club because they converted chances and Quick slammed the door shut. Corey Crawford wasn’t special and neither was Chicago's penalty killing but it was errors that were the real undoing of the Blackhawks.

After a power play goal by Nick Leddy in the opening frame and an early second period marker by Ben Smith all was going great for the Hawks. The home side carried a 2-0 advantage until 18:14 of the middle frame.

Cutting the lead in half before the third period began was significant for Los Angeles as the puck squirted in off the skate of Justin Williams and through Crawford. The Kings started to play better late in the second frame and finally were getting some offensive zone time. But it appeared the Hawks would weather the storm.

That might have been the case but Brandon Bollig was whistled for a questionable interference call at 1:14. Bollig was wrong but seldom do you see an interference penalty take place so far away from the puck. The Kings took only 23 seconds to tie the score but the Hawks weren’t famished making mistakes as an ominous third period was just beginning.

This time it was a bad line change, and a too many men on the ice call that gave Los Angeles another power play. Shortly thereafter the Kings capitalized again on the power play to take the lead and they never looked back.

Los Angeles marched on and the Blackhawks were not finished having brain cramps. Tyler Toffoli put a wrist shot past Crawford as it appeared the Hawks stood still because they thought the puck hit the netting and was out of play. The whistle never blew and again the Kings made the most of a Chicago miscue.

Jeff Carter added another marker late in the period and then scored an empty net goal to complete his hat trick. The Blackhawks were done long before the final buzzer as the Kings scored six straight goals and now head home a content club.

Jonathan Toews had a tough night as he didn’t record a shot on goal and finished a -2. Toews also had trouble winning faceoffs. At one time Toews was only about a 30 percent winner at the dot, he rallied to finish the game at 44 percent.

The Kings are deep at center and they all can win faceoffs as they won 61 percent of their draws. Michal Handzus was a dismal 25 percent while Marcus Kruger was the best for Chicago at 63 percent. Kruger only took eight faceoffs and it is still open for interpretation if he is nursing an injury.

Many will say the turning point of the game was a great save by Quick on Brent Seabrook while the Hawks were up 2-0. No doubt that was a huge stop but my thinking falls in line with Darryl Sutter’s post game comments.

The Kings head coach remarked killing off a 5-on-3 power play in the first period was a key. He also mentioned scoring late in the second period and early in the third were also game changing moments for the Kings.

My conclusion is the Kings stayed alive by getting out of the opening 20 minutes only trailing by one. They then took over as mistakes piled up for the Blackhawks.

However you want to look at it the Hawks went from appearing to have the series in control to facing a big challenge. The setting shifts to Los Angeles and there is another two day break before Saturday’s match. It’s difficult to say who the time off will favor but the Kings have to be feeling great about their chances on home ice.

The Blackhawks are difficult to figure out.

They often win but seldom have overpowered an opponent in the postseason. Actually the Hawks still have not played well over a full 60 minutes. Sometimes it appears the Hawks can win another Stanley Cup doing just enough to get by. At other times it seems like they are waiting for the bottom to fall out.

Wednesday night the buzz at the United Center turned to near silence. The Blackhawks were stunned and so was the crowd. It remains to be seen if the Kings turned the tide in only one game or the entire series.

I will be back on Sunday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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