Checkmate: Hawks pin Kings in 1-0 battle; Raanta earns first NHL shutout

By Michael Calvert

In a game where both goalies were awarded a spot among the top 3 stars, the Hawks came out victorious with a 1-0 shutout Monday night at the United Center.

Antti Raanta earned his first NHL start, though Patrick Kane also saw his 14 game point streak come to an end in this hard fought victory over the LA Kings.

Martin Jones started for the Kings and he’s been excellent backing up Ben Scrivens (so well, he’s taken over the top temp slot from Scrivens) in Jonathan Quick’s injury-related absence.

Jones came into last night’s game sporting a .955 sv % and an 8-2 record on the season, so any hope of having a turnstile type 3rd goalie were for not.

1st period:  As one would expect playing the LA Kings, the game started out physically and initiated by the Kings.  There weren’t too many highlight reel plays or near misses up until the point were Saad took a deflected Bickell pass and beat Jones to take a 1-0 lead.

The Saad goal was a great display of patience and persistence as it came off a pass that was essentially well-defended on a 2-1.  Bickell attempted to feed Saad and Kings D man Matt Green got his stick on it, but Saad was still able to haul it in and put home a wrister top shelf.  The first period came to a close with each team only putting 6 shots apiece on goal.

2nd period:  The second featured far more shots on net but not a goal for either team.  With 6:38 left in the second, Kings’ captain Dustin Brown was given a penalty shot on a hook by Brent Seabrook.  Raanta proved up to the task and made a pretty routine save on Brown’s wrister.  Once the penalty shot was awarded I thought Brown was certainly going to bury it given Raanta’s struggles in the shoot out.  I guess, however time to think about it is no friend to Raanta, and in the course of the game he was able to make the save.

3rd period: The Hawks came out with a good deal more jump in the third period and ended up putting forth 13 of their 30 total shots.  In fact near midpoint in the 3rd it looked as though Andrew Shaw put in the dagger goal on a power play deflection.  The nameless faceless group in Toronto deemed the goal no good as Shaw used a high stick to put it in.

The late game heroics did not come from the Kings this time, after a few false starts, they finally got Jones off the ice for the extra attacker, but it was all for not as they really never put any real pressure on Raanta with the 6th man.  In fact, LA only got off 5 shots the whole period.

This was a really nice win for the Hawks, it just goes to show they can win in multiple ways; especially after giving up 6 goals to St Louis without their top goal scorer in the lineup.

Notes:

-Duncan Keith is now second in the league in assists, pretty impressive for a guy who’s played well defensively to boot.

-I can’t figure out why the Kings struggle so mightily to score, but it’s a good thing, because if they could…

-With that being said, the Kings 3rd goalie could start for a lot of NHL teams, they are deep and if they could get the scoring touch going, I’d put them even money with the Hawks as Stanley Cup Favorites.

-Duncan Keith also broke up what looked to be a pretty clear breakaway with about 5 minutes left in the 3rd.  Between Keith’s secondary assist and the breakup of a breakaway so close to games end, Duncs was awarded rightfully the only non-goalie star.

-Really solid all-around game by both teams. Neither should walk away from this one thinking “We own these guys.”

-Damn it feels good to be a Hawks fan.

Michael Calvert

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