Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings Recap


The Chicago Blackhawks were in Los Angeles, Saturday, to face the Kings in an afternoon western conference tilt. The Blackhawks were coming off a terrible performance in San Jose, on Thursday, in which they were thoroughly out played, out coached, and out classed. The Kings were hot off a Thursday night 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Clearly these were two teams trending in different directions.

Anton Forsberg was back in goal for the Blackhawks, after mopping up the bloody massacre of Jean-Francois Berube in San Jose. Jan Rutta was skating with the team, but still on IR, so he was the only scratch.

Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsPatrick Kane
Tomas JurcoArtem AnisimovAnthony Duclair
Alex DeBrincatNick SchmaltzVinnie Hinostroza
Patrick SharpDavid KampfMatthew Highmore

Duncan KeithConnor Murphy
Erik GustafssonBrent Seabrook
Carl DahlstromJordan Oesterle

In a pretty even first period, the Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead just over seven minutes into regulation. Jordan Oesterle beat Jonathan Quick with a long, well placed point shot through roughly six bodies after Quick thwarted an Alex DeBrincat wrap around attempt.  It was nice to see the pair of Oesterle and Dahlstrom have some success together after some rough individual play against the Sharks.

With under a minute left in the first period, the Blackhawks looked to have scored a fluky goal when Matthew Highmore nudged Jonathan Quick as the Kings goaltender was trying to glove a long flip shot. Quick lost control of the puck and David Kampf shuffled it into the net. After further review, the war room said that Highmore’s contact was enough to keep the goal off the board.

Duncan Keith began a rough stretch of play in the second period, with about four and an half minutes played. He tried to be a little too cute with a cross ice pass at his own blue line and it was picked off by Tanner Pearson. Pearson was off to the races with no one in front of him and beat Anton Forsberg to tie the game.

Two minutes later, Keith was in the center of another Kings goal. Anze Kopitar threw a puck towards the Hawks goaltender, which was stopped, but the rebound laid in the slot.  Duncan Keith, a few Blackhawks and a host of Kings players tried to gather the loose rebound, but eventually, Alec Martinez swatted the puck past Forsberg to give the Kings a 2-1 lead.

Keith was not done there, though. He was front and center once again, for the Kings third goal of the second period, with just over two minutes remaining. He had, what looked to be, an easy clearing attempt along the Blackhawks left half-wall. It looked like he just did not get enough mustard on the pass attempt to David Kampf, and it dribbled helplessly between the two Hawks players.

Alex Iafallo picked up the loose puck, turned towards Forsberg, took a few steps and beat the Hawks goalie. This gave the Kings a 3-1 lead, which usually means “meltdown time” for the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks were also out shot 25-15 through the opening two periods. Conventional wisdom would have told us all that the Blackhawks were done, but they actually pulled off a rare comeback.

Not only did they mount a comeback, but they did it in the final ten minutes of the game. A Drew Doughty hooking/unsportsmanlike conduct call gave the Hawks a four minute powerplay, which started the avalanche of momentum for the Blackhawks.  On the power play, Jonathan Toews sent a shot towards Quick, who made the save but kicked the fat rebound right into the slot. Artem Anisimov was waiting there, and sniped the Kings goalie to cut the lead to just one goal.

With just over five minutes remaining in the game, the Kings returned the Duncan Keith favor by handing the Blackhawks their opportunity to tie the game. Carl Dahlstrom started the play, letting a long shot from the point go towards Quick. The shot was stopped by Kings defenseman Derek Forbort, who attempted to clear the puck, but flubbed it. He ended up putting the puck right on the stick of Vinnie Hinostroza, who took a shot that was initially saved by Quick but, somehow, squirted through and just barely over the goal line.

Then it was time for Jonathan Toews to save the day, like Superman, and on the power play. Toews and Patrick Kane played catch across the Kings’ slot, and with little pressure, Toews was able to let a long wrist shot go. The shot magically beat Jonathan Quick, and the Blackhawks had the lead with just under two minutes to play.

A late empty net goal by Patrick Kane sealed the Kings’ fate, and the Blackhawks put themselves in position to get four of six points on this road trip with a 5-3 win.


  • Artem Anisimov is continuing to have a nice little season. There has been much talk about having to get his contract off the books, and it is probably true, but he is driving up his trade value in the process. It would be wonderful to be able to keep him, but his salary at third line center just won’t work going forward.
  • The third Kings goal was a little “iffy” for Anton Forsberg but his Norris trophy winning defenseman also should have never turned the puck over, like he did. Because of that, I’m putting Forsberg in the plus category. He saved 29 of 32 shots and out-dueled “elite goaltender” Jonathan Quick.
  • The Blackhawks best players need to be their best players, and they were in this game.  Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each had three points, while playing on the same line.
  • I have been hard on Oesterle lately, but today he looked much better with more favorable match-ups as he was moved down the lineup.
  • All hail, Vinnie!  Vinnie, Vidi, Vici!  Hinostroza is putting together a nice little season for himself.  No matter which line Quenneville puts him on, he seems to contribute.  Maybe if his hometown buddy had the same kind of production he wouldn’t be in Nashville.


  • The Nick Schmaltz faceoff woes continued. The team was just under 50% as a team, but Schmaltz was 27%. If he is the second line center of the future, he needs to be better. If not, the Hawks will be limited in the situations he can be on the ice for faceoffs.
  • Duncan Keith had a pretty horrid second period, and it almost cost the Blackhawks a win.  It looks like his frustration is boiling over and he might need a night off.  Now, I’m not screaming for his head or anything but he looks frustrated, and maybe a night off could clear his head.  Sometimes a hard reset can do a world of good.  This is a lost season anyway.  Riding him like a rented mule doesn’t do anyone any good.
  • I know I’m piling on and splitting hairs, but I have zero use for Tomas Jurco and Patrick Sharp.  Unfortunately, because of the CBA rules, the Blackhawks are stuck with this lineup for the rest of the season.
  • Poor Connor Murphy was saddled with a -3 when it was actually his partner that was mostly responsible for the goals against.  I want to see more of Murphy with Keith.  They could be a really nice pairing once Keith exorcises his “yips“.


About Jeff Osborn

Jeff has covered the Blackhawks since 2009 with his former website and podcast The Puckin Hostile Shoutcast until 2017, when he moved over to The Rink. After a short hiatus to cover the inaugural Seattle Kraken season, he came back to Blackhawks coverage and started "The Net Perspective" podcast to discuss goaltending and goaltender development.


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