A late-March matchup between the Blackhawks and Kings would have been must-see TV just a few short years ago. On Saturday, the people who cared most were the top picks in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Hours before the game began, we asked our fans on Facebook if they were going to stay up and watch the game, which started a few minutes after 9:30 PM CST.
So, with one week left in the season, Chicago is 50-50 on whether or not this game was watchable from the jump.
Chicago mixed up the lines to open the game with Drake Cagguila returning to the lineup. Against a physical team in LA, John Hayden remained out of the lineup. Cagguila joined a second line with Dylan Strome at center while Artem Anisimov found himself between Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane to begin the action.
The Kings out-shot the Hawks 14-9 in the first period but most of the opening 20 minutes felt like two bad teams trying to get anything to work.
Late in the first while killing a Brent Seabrook penalty David Kampf took a puck to the face. He skated off but did not return for the second period. The team tweeted that he left the lineup because of facial/dental issues.
Chicago got on the board first as Alex DeBrincat scored his 41st of the season 98 seconds into the second period. DeBrincat has ripped home some lasers this year… this was not one of those. Indeed, he could have been credited with the second assist as the puck may have touched both Kings defenders before going into the LA net.
Kane and Anisimov were credited with the assists on the DeBrincat goal.
Los Angeles got increasingly physical in the second period, and were clearly targeting Cagguila, who had been out since Feb. 27 with a concussion. Kurtis MacDermid, listed at 6-5 and 233 pounds, took liberties whenever he wanted without any pushback from the Blackhawks whatsoever. Meanwhile, John Hayden was a healthy scratch again.
With four minutes left in the second Austin Wagner blew past the Hawks’ “defense” and tied the game at one. Carl Dahlstrom was the victim of Wagner’s speed in this case, but Wagner’s wheels were problematic on a number of occasions during the game.
After 40 minutes of hockey the game was tied at one. The Hawks out-shot the Kings 14-6 in the second and held a 23-20 shot advantage through two.
Three minutes into the third period Erik Gustafsson unloaded from the blue line and connected for the 17th time this season. Chicago took a 2-1 lead.
Duncan Keith and Marcus Kruger were credited with assists on the Gustafsson goal.
With five minutes left in regulation in Los Angeles, the Stars-Canucks game went final. Dallas lost in an eight-round shootout that saw one goal scored. For any Hawks fans delusional enough to still consider the playoffs, this result maybe intriguing.
When the Hawks allowed a game-tying goal with 4:15 left in regulation the Stars losing shouldn’t have meant as much. Michael Amadio’s fifth of the season tied the game at two.
60 minutes wouldn’t be enough, so a game Hawks fans were 50-50 on watching in the first place went to overtime. Because of course. Shots were 33-26 in favor of Chicago after three full periods.
Kane skated 24:27 in regulation. Jonathan Toews had skated 21:57 and Gustafsson was at 22:42 in regulation. Gustafsson led Chicago with four shots on net through three periods. Those three began overtime on the ice for Chicago.
That line did well on its first couple shifts but couldn’t end the game. With 30 seconds left in the overtime Toews got caught up with Anze Kopitar, breaking up what could have become a 2-on-1 for LA. Toews headed to the box and the Kings used their timeout.
jonathan toews with a nice "f*** you" to the officials pic.twitter.com/pfyZh8806Q
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) March 31, 2019
While on the advantage, Kopitar set up Drew Doughty who unloaded and beat Crawford to end the game with 11 seconds left in the overtime period.
We keep talking about how Dylan Sikura is playing well and some metrics indicate he’s playing better. However, in 13 games in March Sikura has two assists. Saturday was the fifth time in the month that Sikura skated more than 14 minutes in a game. He does not have a point in any of those five games.
Crawford made 26 saves in the loss.