By Brad Vandenberk
At the halfway point of their current six game road trip, the Hawks are collecting points and slightly staying ahead of the St Louis Blues in the Central Division. Before entering game four in Los Angeles on Monday evening, the Hawks were 1-0-2. They were still struggling to close the deal in OT and or the Shootout adding to their league’s worst 14 overtimes with a point lost. LA on the other hand is currently looking for goal scoring being shutout in most of their games. Bryan Bickell made his return to the line up on the 3rd line along side Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad. Bickell is slowly creeping his way out of the Q’s dog house and knows he needs to use his physicality on the ice. Marian Hossa has been taking a few maintenance days missing morning skates. He remains in the line up but with the Olympic break just 5 days away, fatigue can be a factor. You wouldn’t think with the Big Hoss, as his game is already getting Selke nods. The fourth line has been exactly what the Hawks have asked for, playing good minutes, establishing the forecheck and actually tucking a few in at key times.
Corey Crawford manned the net for the visitors with US Olympian Jonathan Quick between the pipes for the Kings. The Hawks own the season series beating them 3-1 and 1-0 both at the UC. This game was for the series sweep. Michal Handzus, Sheldon Brookbank and Michael Kostka were the scratches for this game.
It didn’t take long for the Kings to introduce their physical play. Just 24 seconds in, Drew Doughty hits fellow Canadian Olympic teammate Patrick Sharp from behind and the Hawks get the early power play with Doughty heading off for the charge. During the power play Patrick Kane walks out from the corner untouched, sliding it past Quick’s five hole 1-0. Then the penalties begin to pile up. First, it’s ex Hawk Colin Fraser getting called for holding the stick. 55 seconds into the power play Sharp gets his stick up in Willie Mitchell’s face and draws blood; Sharp hits the box for 4 minutes. 1:05 of 4 on 4 hockey. Kane continues his hot start breaking in all alone on Quick but the save is made. The Hawks kill off the power play as the penalty kill remains strong. Suddenly Kane, Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell head up the ice on a 3 on 1. Kane spots Bickell who sends home the quick shot 2-0. Kings get another chance with the man advantage when Shaw heads off for roughing. The Kings make the feisty center pay when Doughty rips a one timer over Crawford’s shoulder 2-1. The Hawks feels the Kings physicality with bodies flying all over the ice. Brandon Bollig returns the favour bouncing off Anze Kopitar. LA gets a penalty for Delay of Game and the Hawks cannot capitalize with Quick making some key stops. The period ends quite roughly when Dustin Brown tries to take Marcus Kruger’s head off. He gets called for the interference. Hossa gets the best chance but the penalty expires and the period ends with the Hawks leading in shots 12-5.
The Kings start the second period all over the Hawks. Brown rings one off the post. Crawford makes some great saves to keep the Hawks up. The Hawks head the other way with Kane, Duncan Keith and Hossa all exchange scoring opportunities. Jeff Carter uses his speed and tries to fly past Niklas Hjalmarsson and the Swede hooks Carter sending the Kings to the power play. Crawford is absolutely brilliant during the power play stopping the barrage of Kings shots. Just as the penalty expires Hjalmarsson leaves the box and skates right by the Kings heading into the Hawks zone. Kopitar accidentally slides a puck under Crawford and ties the game at 2. Kings come right back at the Hawks almost scoring again. Another ringing sound as the Kings hit their 3rd post of the game. LA gets their fifth power play of the game when Hossa slashes Kopitar’s stick out of his hand well behind the play. Carter, again gets a great chance, but Crawford remains sharp. Nick Leddy gets hit hard along the boards. There may be some bumps and bruises when the Hawks wake up tomorrow. Hawks take the lead when the fourth line again shows their talents. Kruger gets a puck to Ben Smith who sends it to Leddy. He fires on net and Kruger tips it past Quick 3-2. Sharp gets a breakaway but can’t raise his backhand over Quick’s pad. Kings take over in shots leading 20-19.
Hawks begin the period playing the role of pinball, getting bounced around the ice. Kruger gets hit hard again with Bollig coming to his rescue dishing out his own version. Crawford continues his dominance saving Willie Mitchell and Matt Frattin in close. Hawks get their fifth power play of the game when Matt Greene heads of for Interference on a Smith dump in. Michael Rozsival hits Toews with a point shot while seeing some power play time. Just as the penalty expires, Leddy gets a pass from Hossa and finds the back of the net going post and in 4-2. The Staples Center crowd begins the Go Hawks Go chants. Bollig again throws his weight around on Slava Voynov. Crawford makes a great save on a Kyle Clifford wrap around attempt. At the 8:51 mark of the period, Sharp strips a Kings D of the puck and heads in with Kane on a 2 on 1. He humbly sends a saucer pass over Doughty’s stick and Kane finishes the play beating Quick 5-2. Kane’s grandfather passed away earlier in the day, so each goal, Kane recognized him with a skyward point. Kings get it right back when Tyler Toffoli sends home a rebound on Carter’s wrap around attempt stopped by Hjalmarsson’s skate. Jake Muzzin attempts to hit Smith, but instead sends himself into his own bench. Bickell gets a wide open net attempted when Saad finds him out front but he shots wide. The Kings pull their goalie and add the extra attacker but it wasn’t enough as the Hawks take the 5-3 victory.
Sharp Toews Hossa Keith Seabrook
Versteeg Pirri Kane Oduya Hjalmarsson
Saad Shaw Bickell Leddy Rozsival
Bollig Kruger Smith
-Patrick Kane played this game just hours after learning of the passing of his grandfather. Kane was emotional when speaking with the media after Monday’s victory.
-Hawks were outshot 34-30
-Both Hawks and Kings go 1/5 on the power play.
-Keith led all Hawks with 26:00 TOI, next up was D partner Brent Seabrook 22:46
-Toews was abysmal in the faceoff dot going 5/24, Pirri 0/3, Shaw 5/9 and Kruger 5/10, Smith 5/11
-Kane had a 3 point night (2, 1) with Leddy, Toews and Sharp getting 2 points each.
-Hawks now have a 2-0-2 record on this 6 game road trip.
-Now the team heads to Anaheim Wednesday to play their final game against the Pacific Division leaders.