Most years, the Blackhawks would be thrilled to come home from their annual Circus Trip with nine of a possible 12 points. But after winning the first four games of the trip in overwhelming fashion, only getting one point in the final two games leaves the feeling that the Hawks let something get away.
The Blackhawks tried to bounce back after being shut out in Anaheim, but again struggled to get their offense going. The defense was significantly better than it was on Friday afternoon, but the groove on offense took two periods to appear on Saturday night in Los Angeles.
In the first, the Hawks shut down the Kings just as they did in Chicago a couple weeks ago. The score ended tied at zero, but the Hawks only allowed four shots on Cristobal Huet.
The second period saw more shots getting to both goalies, and the Kings getting on the board first. Wayne Simmonds got the puck past Huet to make the score 1-0 Kings. However, the Hawks killed three penalties in the second period, as they effectively got back to their excellent defense on the penalty kill; the Hawks allowed all three goals in Anaheim with a man advantage, but entered action as the second best penalty killing team in the league.
In the third, Jonathan Toews got the Hawks back onto the scoreboard after over 153 minutes between goals with a nice putback of a rebound in traffic to tie the game. Patrick Kane threw a hard shot at Jonathan Quick that escaped his grasp, and Toews was there to capitalize. Quick had a magnificent game for Los Angeles, saving 32 of 33 shots he faced in the game to earn the win.
The game extended through a lackluster overtime period, and then came the shootout. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were Chicago’s first two shooters, and both failed to beat Quick. Anze Kopitar and Jack Johnson scored on Los Angeles’ first two attempts on Huet, and the game ended with the Hawks receiving just one point for the 2-1 loss.
Dustin Byfuglien served two more penalty minutes in the game, while Brian Campbell and Niklas Hjalmarsson also spent time in detention. Duncan Keith had an assist on Toews’ goal to give him ten points in his last ten games.
The loss delays coach Joel Quenneville achieving 500 career victories until the Hawks return home on December 1, when they host Columbus.