The Blackhawks lost eight in a row. The best thing they could have seen on the schedule was a couple struggling teams with injury issues, and that’s exactly what they got. The Blues came into the United Center and got shutout, and on Friday night the Los Angeles Kings visited Chicago.
Well, what’s left of the Kings.
Notre Dame product Cal Petersen made his first NHL start and second overall appearance in net for LA and the Kings weren’t sure who would be available to serve as the backup until just before the game started. With injury issues all over the Kings roster, it would have been wise for the Hawks to jump on the young netminder early.
So the Blackhawks put eight shots on net in a first period that could have cured insomnia. The Kings managed ten shots in the opening 20 minutes.
In the second period, the Kings put the game on a silver platter for the Hawks.
Michael Amadio took a penalty at 8:10 into the second.
The Hawks did nothing.
Drew Doughty went to the box at 12:30.
Again, nothing from Chicago.
And Dustin Brown sat for a couple minutes beginning at 15:11.
Zero goals on three consecutive power plays for the Blackhawks. Patrick Kane was on the ice for 5:36 of the six minutes of power play time for the Hawks but the coaching change has changed the dumpster fire that the Hawks’ would-be “advantage” has been for the last few years.
Meanwhile, Tyler Toffoli scored 19 seconds after the Amadio penalty ended, banking a shot in off Duncan Keith to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
Los Angeles held onto the one-goal margin as the teams headed to their respective locker rooms after 40 minutes. Both sides put 12 shots on net in the second, and the Hawks started the third period with Jonathan Toews in the box for 1:46 of penalty time.
Corey Crawford and Petersen were both playing very well, and Crawford made some big saves to keep the game close, including one short-handed opportunity while the Hawks’ “power play” was on the ice in the second. .
Less than 60 seconds after the Toews penalty ended, Chicago’s captain executed a perfect passing sequence with Brandon Saad that ended with Saad tying the game at one.
Saad’s fifth of the year brought some life back into a United Center that felt like it had 20,000 attendees who were tired after a long work week.
Crawford continued to make huge saves to keep the Hawks in the game. Too many Kings were able to set up shop in front of the net without worrying about any contact from a skater in red. Jeff Carter got a marvelous look with the Hawks making a terrible change with 90 seconds left in regulation but Crawford made another big save.
Regulation ended with the game still tied. Chicago held a 34-32 shot advantage through 60 minutes.
The Blackhawks picked up a point in the standings in a third consecutive game; they were 1-0-1 in the previous two contests.
Chicago opened overtime with Toews, Kane and Keith on the ice together against Anze Kopitar, Brown and Drew Doughty. An awful pass by Keith gave Brown a great look, but the veteran opted to wait for a trailing Kopitar. A return pass from Kopitar was off the mark and neither team was able to score early in the extra session.
At the mid-point in overtime, Artem Anisimov threw a puck at the net and almost got a terrific tip from Gustav Forsling, who was flying across the net. Petersen made a nice save on the play, however, and on we went.
Neither side was able to score, so we were treated to a skills competition.
In his first shootout as Hawks head coach, Jeremy Colliton opted to shoot first and sent Toews over the board. Petersen made a terrific save against Toews. Ilya Kovalchuk beat Crawford easily.
Kane went second for Chicago and was also stopped by Petersen. Kopitar shot second for the Kings and won the game.