On Saturday the World Champion Chicago Blackhawks were here at Staples Center to meet the Los Angeles Kings. These two teams have faced each other in some tough games the past few years, so whenever they take the ice together we can expect a great hockey game. Over the past five years these two teams have been the Stanley Cup Champions four times, two times each.
The Kings had a slow start to their season, losing the first three, but picked up their game and closed out the month of October with an eight-game winning streak.
The Blackhawks have the swagger of champions right now. Their right wing Patrick Kane is on a hot streak scoring13 goals so far this season with 13 assists. Kane led the league in points with 34 before the game started. The Kings would need to slow him down without letting the rest of the Chicago team pick up the slack.
Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli have skated the best for Los Angeles, but when the whole team is skating well their opponents will have a hard time against Los Angeles.
Saturday’s game didn’t start well for the Kings. The Blackhawks got on the board first, 11 minutes into the first period when Patrick Kane scored a power play goal from 21 feet away, with an assist by Duncan Keith. Kane’s score set a record for American-born players — he scored a point in his 18th straight game.
For the Kings, the period was marked by missed shots and giveaways and the penalty by Tyler Toffoli that led to the score.
The second period didn’t go any better for the Kings. They were unable to take advantage of a power play to start the period and then about 13 minutes into the period Niklas Hjalmarsson scored for the Blackhawks with assists from Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane. The Kings were down, 2-0. Going well back into last season Los Angeles hadn’t been able to come back and win when they were two goals down going into the third period.
The Kings actually looked better than the Blackhawks, they just had trouble getting the puck into the net. They took more shots on the goal than Chicago, but goalie Scott Darling played great, stopping every attempt in those first two periods.
It was less than a minute into the third when Jeff Carter, assisted by Milan Lucic and Christian Ehrhoff, scored from eight feet out putting his own rebound into the net. The Kings looked like they would control the period, but they were still down by a goal.
Then less than 14 minutes after the Kings’ first goal, Marián Gáborík scored the game-tying goal, assisted by Anze Kopitar, who got the puck from Chicago’s Brent Seabrook on a takeaway.
With the overtime period, now played with the three-on-three rule, the Kings took it to the Blackhawks, who were able to bounce back and put Kings goalie Jonathan Quick to work. He made a spectacular save when he batted the puck out of the air as it headed high into the net. Both teams had a lot of chances to win it in the OT.
The game came to an end when Marián Gáborík scored his second goal of the game, getting the win for Los Angeles. Anze Kopitar assisted. It was an exciting finish to a game that was nearly as exciting as the seven-game Western Conference Finals the two teams played two seasons ago when the Kings won the Stanley Cup.
After the game Patrick Kane talked about his achievement, saying it was fun when it happened in the first period, but he wasn’t excited because of the final score. “If we came out with a better effort in the third, and tried to take it to them I think we would have had a different result, but we just kind of sat back and they took it to us.”
Kings head coach Darryl Sutton said, “I think we played a pretty solid game and felt going into the third we were still there.” When asked about Patrick Kane’s record, Sutter added, “He’s a great player. He just happened to be in Los Angeles [Saturday].”
The subject of the three-on-three over time format came up and the coach said, “I heard a trickle down saying these overtimes, these three-on-threes were getting boring. I guess somebody didn’t watch our road trip, either the Philadelphia game or the Tampa game to see how many scoring chances there were. There could have been 15 goals scored in these 15 minutes — not quite 15 minutes.” Saturday’s overtime lasted only 2:07.
Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling saved 33 of 36 shots on the goal and Jonathan Quick saved 20 of 22. The Kings had more hits than Chicago and they won more faceoffs.
The Kings are now 14-8-1 and still lead the Pacific Division. The Blackhawks are 13-8-3 and are third in the Central Division.
Patrick Kane scored in his 19th consecutive game and he leads the league in points with 37.
The Kings will be back in action Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks, here at Staples Center. The Blackhawks will be at home in Chicago at the United Center against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.
Photos by Claudia Gestro, L.A. Post-Examiner Staff contributed to this article.
Claudia is of Peruvian and Italian descent, having been born in a small town, in the North of Peru, South America. She was raised by her grandmother from an early age, living in poverty until Claudia’s mother brought her to America. She landed in Miami, FL and started her new life, playing high school basketball and eventually becoming a United States citizen. Claudia completed her education at Florida International University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and became a model to supplement her income. Since graduating from FIU Claudia has worked with many of the Spanish Language broadcasting companies, including Telemundo, Univision and most recently Spanish Language channels on SiriusXM satellite radio and PasTV Deportes in Venezuela.She encourages you to follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Her content appears here under a shared content agreement with her Spanish television clients.