By Brad Vandenberk
After a complete debacle in Toronto on Saturday night, and the Blackhawks not getting home on Sunday until 3am, the Hawks were back in action Sunday at 6pm taking on the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are coming off an afternoon game in Ottawa on Saturday. Both teams were playing on a back to back but the Kings have gone 18 straight games without allowing a first period goal. The Hawks, on the other hand, are still trying to pick up the pieces from being embarrassed 7-3 at the ACC. On the good news front, Bryan Bickell sounds like he will make the trip to Nashville on Tuesday with his return in question. The Hawks also bolstered their goaltending situation, acquiring Jason Labarbera on Saturday afternoon for a player to be named later.
Antti Raanta regained his crease from being chased from it the night previous. Ben Scrivens got the call for the Kings. Michael Kostka, Corey Crawford and Jeremy Morin sat this one out with Sheldon Brookbank working his way up to the third line once again.
Just over a minute into the game, Kyle Clifford gets called for tripping when he extends his knee out on Jonathan Toews. Kris Versteeg gets 2 quick chances but other than that, the Kings kill off the man advantage. It was the Hawks turn now to head to the penalty box. Johnny Oduya sticks his hip out and takes out Anze Kopitar and gets called for tripping. During the penalty kill, Toews races Jake Muzzin behind the net and retrieves the puck. Marian Hossa stands all alone in front of the net and gives the Hawks the early lead shorthanded 1-0. Brandon Saad gets another shorthanded opportunity on the same power play. At the 10:01 mark Versteeg and Michal Handzus break in on a 2 on 1. Versteeg keeps the shot and makes Scrivens pay 2-0. Just as the period is about to come to a close Jarret Stoll cross checks Marcus Kruger 3 times in a row and finally gets called. It didn’t take the Hawks long to capitalize on this power play with only 41 seconds left in the period. Toews finds Patrick Sharp coming off his point and Sharp rips it over Scrivens 3-0. The period ends with the Hawks outshooting the Kings 10-6.
The second opens right where the 1st left off. The Hawks are flying around the Kings. Where was this on Saturday night? Kane and Brent Seabrook break in on a 2 on 1 Kane keeps and tried to come cross crease but Scrivens reads it perfectly flashing the leather. Raanta on the other end was a lot better tracking the puck and making sure it stayed out of the net. Every line was clicking for the Hawks. Saad and Andrew Shaw get back to back chances. Versteeg has the puck on his stick, with what seemed like his entire shift. Saad gets a beautiful chance with a sweet move forcing Scrivens to keep the Kings alive. Mike Richards gets a wide open 1 timer and Raanta flashes his leather. Brandon Bollig takes a cross check from behind. He was slow to get up and there was no penalty on the play. Versteeg and Kane break in again and now the Kings are just trying to get through this game. The Hawks get a late period power play when Alec Martinez sends a puck over the glasses getting busted for delay of game. Kopitar has a glorious shorthanded opportunity and Raanta makes a fabulous toe save to keep his shutout campaign. Sharp hits the goal post and the Hawks can’t add to their lead as the period closes. They still hold the shot advantage 25-16.
Raanta continues his solid play, making a save on an early Kings push. Kane on the other end tries to break through the Kings D. Toews and Sharp get another 2 on 1 chance with Sharp holding on for the shot. Shaw gets hit high in the head area from Andy Greene but the refs let the game play on. Kane jumps on early and gets a chance to score from a great pass from captain serious. It’s clear to see that Scrivens is the reason why the Kings still have a slight chance. Saad makes another huge move dangling thru the Kings D but no goal to show for it. Dustin Brown gets dumped trying to get a shot off and again the refs don’t signal a penalty. Finally LA gets on the board. Martinez takes a shot from the point and ex Hawk Dan Carcillo orchestrates a perfect screen and the shot sails by Raanta 3-1. Later after a Raanta save, Carcillo and Shaw mix it up a bit and Shaw heads to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Kings get a late power play. Both Toews and Ben Smith have chances to add to their lead during the penalty kill but once again Scrivens saves the day. The Kings pull the goalie with 49 seconds left but the game would end in a Hawks 3-1 victory.
Sharp Toews Hossa Keith Seabrook
Versteeg Handzus Kane Oduya Hjalmarsson
Saad Shaw Brookbank Leddy Rozsival
Bollig Kruger Smith
-Hawks out shoot the Kings 40-22.
-Hawks go 1/3 on the power play with the Kings going 0/2.
-Toews was 10/13 in the faceoff dot, Handzus 6/15, Shaw 3/8, and Kruger 4/7.
-Hjalmarsson was the leader in TOI with 21:04, next up was Keith at 20:42
-Kane continues his point streak and is only 1 point (45) away from the league leader Sidney Crosby (46).
-Hawks now head to Nashville for a Tuesday tilt. The last time they Hawks visited Bridgestone Arena they were send home with a 7-2 thrashing.