By Brad Vandenberk
The road trip has ended and the Blackhawks find themselves at the UC playing 3 games in 5 days. Their recent road trip had them obtain 6 out of a possible 8 points.
Their only loss came at the hands of the Ducks on Wednesday, abolishing a 2-1 lead with 6 minutes left in the 3rd period, losing 4-2.
That’s not the only loss that was suffered. Marian Hossa left the game in Colorado on Monday night and has yet to play a shift since. Coach Q stated that the injury is not serious and that Hossa is expected to return shortly. Sorry Hawks fans, Hossa did not dress tonight for the Kings match. He has also been listed as questionable for Tuesday’s contest against the Flames. Hossa was a big contributor to the Hawks beating the Flames in Calgary scoring the tying goal with 2.4 seconds left in the game. They then went on to claim victory in the shootout.
There is some good news, the Hawks coming into this game having the last four days off. Patrick Sharp is approximately 5-10 days away from returning.
The Kings are starting to prove to the NHL why they won the Stanley Cup last season. They have been winning their way into a playoff spot and without Hossa and Sharp, this will show to be a tough contest for the final meeting between these 2 teams. Michael Frolik has been slotted into Hossa’s spot alongside Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad. The other change sees Jamal Mayers work his way back onto the fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Brandon Bollig.
Corey Crawford got the start with Coach Q already mentioning that Ray Emery will play against the Flames. Jonathan Quick got the call for the Kings. Besides Hossa and Sharp, Dan Carcillo and Sheldon Brookbank, also did not dress tonight.
Frolik RSVP-d to his invite to the top line in a big way. On his opening shift, Frolik steals the puck in the Kings zone and gets a shot on net. His fore check has not changed. Patrick Kane also steals the puck from an unsuspecting Kings defenseman forcing Quick to make a save early. The Hawks had a jump in their step right off the hop.
The physical play was also immanent with Mayers throwing his weight around. Brent Seabrook also stands tall with a hit attempt by Trevor Lewis sending Lewis and his helmet to the ice. Toews tries to split the defensive and get s the puck over to Frolik, but Quick again is sharp gobbling up the rebound.
On the next faceoff, captain faithful wins the draw to Saad, who slides it back to Duncan Keith, who goes back to Saad on the side wall. Saad immediately finds the newly invited Frolik in the middle and he finds the back of the net giving the Hawks a 1-0 lead. That was Frolik’s second goal of the year, his first came against these same Kings on opening day.
The Kings begin to show their fore check stealing the puck from the Hawks defensemen. It’s creates a 2 on 1 chance but Crawford shuts the door. Crawford has to be quick to adapt with the puck redirecting off Johnny Oduya’s foot. The Hawks catch a break as Mike Richards stick hits Viktor Stalberg in the face drawing blood. Now the thing here is that the high stick was on a follow through of a shot. In the NHL that is not a penalty. However, Richards heads to the box and the Hawks get a 4 minute power play. Kane rings one off the far post during that power play, but the Kings penalty kill is very aggressive giving no space to the opposition. The period ends with the Hawks leading 1-0 and also leading in the shots category with an 11-7 advantage.
The Kings open the middle frame coming on strong. Jordan Nolan nails Kruger along the boards and Bollig comes in and sticks up for his Swedish partner. He drops the mitts and challenges Nolan to a duel. Both heavy weights get their fair share of punches in but no winner was declared. A tussle usually gives the home team the momentum, not tonight. Right after the litter is cleared from the ice and the goons head to the box, Anze Kopitar walks over the blue line, after getting a pass from the linesman, and fires a shot over Crawford’s glove tying the game at 1.
Moments after the goal, Kane is “pushed” by Jarret Stoll from behind. Kane begins to turn green and seeks out revenge. Would you believe that he gets called for boarding and the Hawks have to kill their first penalty of the game? Frolik and Kruger break in short handed and fires wide. Hawks get their third power play attempt as Kings Captain Dustin Brown gets called for interference.
During the Hawks sloppy power play, Stoll leading the Kings breaks out over the Hawks blue line ripping it high over Corey’s glove. 2-1 Kings on a shorthanded goal.
Saad breaks in all alone and doesn’t get a shot on net. Slava Voynov makes a spectacular defensive plan getting under his stick and not getting a penalty. Hawks begin to lose the momentum. However, Kane delivers some sweet revenge accidentally high sticking Brown behind the play. No call. Crawford needs to prove his number 1 status and makes some big saves to keep the Hawks in the game.
Now who remembers who played the role of Hossa tonight? Oh yeah. It’s Frolik! Keith fires a shot from the point and Frolik redirects it past Quick tying it at 2-2.
Big Jimmy Hayes rushes to the net forcing Drew Doughty to take a penalty. The Hawks could not get a chance themselves but gave up another shorted had rush for Brown.
Then Kane puts on a show for the 21,850 at the UC. Seabrook finds a streaking Hayes who dangles a quick pass between his legs and springs Kane on a breakaway. With patience and pose he snaps the puck past Quick and the Hawks take the lead with 40.2 seconds left in the period.
Just when you think the period is over Doughty walks through 5 Blackhawk players and fires a shot on net. Dwight King is the recipient of a puck that bounced off his skate and past Crawford tying the game at 3 with .05 on the clock. Period ends with the Kings taking control and out shooting the Hawks 19-16.
The third period begins and the Kings start to look in mid season form. Crawford lets out a rebound off a Kopitar shot and Jeff Carter tries to wrap around the net and tuck it past a sprawling Crawford but he shuts the door.
Saad gets a beautiful pass from Toews and can’t pull the trigger. Kane wows the crowd with a spin o rama. Frolik is at it again firing a shot on net and Toews bats home to rebound giving the Hawks a 3-2 lead. That is Frolik’s 3rd point of the night.
Nolan comes back the other way and the Kings are right back in the Chicago zone trying to tie this up again. Hayes begins to stir the pot giving Doughty a quick shot and ex Hawk Colin Fraser comes right at him. Toews tries another cross crease pass and it redirects off Jake Muzzin almost beating Quick.
The Kings finally tie it again when Tyler Toffoli spins and shoots on net. It eludes Crawford and the game is tied once again.
After all Frolik’s positives, there was one negative. While chasing a puck into the offensive zone he cross checks Muzzin from behind and heads to the box. Crawford had to be careful because here come the Kings. They tried to get the puck in close to Crawford looking for a rebound to slip home.
With Just 1:27 left in the game, Kopitar copies Toews and wins a face off and Brown shots the puck off Oduya’s head and right back on his stick, he fires it past Crawford giving the Kings the lead. Crawford heads to the bench but even with the extra attacker the Hawks fall short and lose 5-4.
-Hawks get outshot 36 – 25.
-Hawks go 0 for 4 on the power play. Kings go 0 for 2.
-Frolik had a huge game getting 2 goals and 1 assist. Keith also had 3 assists.
-Keith led all Hawks with 24:30 TOI. Doughty had an astonishing 29:23
-Toews went 14 for 26 in the faceoff dot and 2 of those wins led to goals.
-The Hawks are right back at it on Tuesday as the Calgary Flames come to town.