RECAP: Blackhawks fall 4-3 to Kings in overtime

  

The Blackhawks began their West Coast road trip with a matchup against the Los Angeles Kings. Defenseman Adam Boqvist, drafted 8th overall in 2018, made his NHL debut tonight.

Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton mixed up the lines and defense pairings once again in hopes of something working out. Erik Gustafsson, Dennis Gilbert, and Drake Caggiula were the scratches tonight. Corey Crawford started in net for the visitors.

These were the Blackhawks’ starting lines:

Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsAlexander Nylander

Dominik KubalikDavid KampfPatrick Kane

Zack SmithKirby DachAndrew Shaw

Alex DeBrincatRyan CarpenterDylan Strome

Duncan KeithAdam Boqvist

Calvin de HaanBrent Seabrook

Slater KoekkoekOlli Maata

First period

The first ten minutes of this game could not have been more brutal for the Blackhawks. The Kings circled the puck around them at the start, and they didn’t wait to score on the visitors. Slater Koekkoek and David Kampf pinched along the boards and the puck found an open Kyle Clifford, who wristed the puck past Corey Crawford.

Less than two minutes later, Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan left an open gap for Matt Roy to get a clear wrist shit on Crawford. The Blackhawks goaltender barely reacted to the shot and it went past his right shoulder to give the Kings a 2-0 lead. The linesman then headed over to Chicago’s bench, signaling that Crawford was going to be pulled off by the concussion spotter after being hit in the mask with a shot prior to letting this goal in.

Slater Koekkoek then tossed the puck over the glass and took a delay of game penalty. Luckily, Robin Lehner didn’t let a shot past him and the Blackhawks killed the penalty off. In the first 8:25 of the period, the Kings outshot the visitors 10-0.

Kings forward Adrian Kempe then took an interference penalty, and Chicago finally got some consistent time in the offensive zone on the power play. Kirby Dach and Alexander Nylander exchanged passes down low until Nylander tossed the puck to Dach in front of the net. He slipped a backhand pass to Dominik Kubalik, who buried the shot past Jack Campbell and brought the Blackhawks within a goal. This goal also broke the team’s 0-for-21 streak on the man advantage.

The good news continued when Corey Crawford returned from concussion protocol just five minutes after going to the locker room. The Blackhawks continued to pressure the Kings and had good scoring chances. Kings goaltender Jack Campbell made some great saves, one in particular on Jonathan Toews with less than five minutes to go in the period.

Chicago kept pressuring the Kings and eventually, it was too much. Dominik Kubalik, who had an outstanding first period, forced Jack Campbell to turn the puck over to David Kampf. He didn’t miss his chance to score in the empty net.

The Blackhawks and Kings headed into the intermission tied 2-2 with the Kings on the power play after a Calvin de Haan interference penalty. The home team outshot the visitors 17-12, and it was great to see Chicago recover from an abysmal start to the game.

Second period

For everything that happened in the first 20 minutes, the start of the second frame was a bit more calm. The Blackhawks killed off de Haan’s penalty that carried over from the end of the first period. Kirby Dach almost connected with Adam Boqvist for a great scoring opportunity, but the pass was intercepted by the Kings’ defense.

The Blackhawks then got caught in their own zone for what seemed like forever after a botched line change. Los Angeles maintained pressure offensively and none of Patrick Kane, Dominik Kubalik, Adam Boqvist, and Duncan Keith were able to get off the ice for around three minutes. Luckily, Corey Crawford kept every shot out of the net on that long shift.

Penalty trouble hit the Blackhawks as Ryan Carpenter sat for hooking, but the visitors killed it off. Still, they were never able to gain momentum and the ice was heavily tilted in favor of the Kings. Olli Maatta took the second penalty of the period for the Blackhawks with around four minutes to go, but Crawford and the penalty kill units didn’t allow a goal with a man down that time, either. They were also blessed by Alex Iafallo hitting the crossbar.

In the last minute or so of play, the Blackhawks finally got a few decent chances, but nothing went in the net. Chicago and Los Angeles remained tied at 2 heading into the second intermission. The Kings outshot the Blackhawks 18-8 in the middle frame and led 35-20 in shots for the game.

Third period

Bad times continued for the Blackhawks in the final twenty minutes of regulation. The Kings continued to dominate offensively while the visitors generated very few scoring opportunities. They did not even record a shot on goal in the first ten minutes of the period.

Corey Crawford continued to stop chance after chance while his team let the Kings skate in circles around them, but you can’t stop everything when pressure is being put on you like that. Andrew Shaw let Dustin Brown skate right by him along the boards. Brown slid a pass to a wide-open Michael Amadio for an easy tap-in goal to give Los Angeles a 3-2 lead.

The Blackhawks didn’t play like a team down a goal, though. They continued to let the Kings create all types of offense while they scrambled in the defensive zone, forcing Crawford to bail them out time and time again.

With about two minutes left in the third, Jeremy Colliton pulled Crawford to make it 6-on-5. And then it was the Patrick Kane show. He held onto the puck along the boards and searched for a passing lane, specifically eyeing the other side of the ice. Kane found Toews with a cross-ice pass, and the captain didn’t miss burying the snap shot to tie the game at 3.

The Blackhawks and the Kings headed into overtime with the Los Angeles holding a 45-25 shot advantage over Chicago.

Overtime

The Blackhawks started 3-on-3 overtime with their usual trio of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith. Chances were exchanged at both ends of the ice, with Campbell and Crawford stopping some great shots.

In the middle of the overtime period, Alex Nylander had a burst of speed and created a 2-on-0 chance, but it looked like he attempted to pass the puck instead of take the shot. The Kings flew the other way and had an opportunity of their own.

With a minute and a half left, Adam Boqvist had himself a great scoring chance, but didn’t get back in time to stop the 2-on-1 the Kings had on Nylander. Corey Crawford made a nice stop on Tyler Toffoli, but had no idea the puck was sitting behind him. Drew Doughty did, though, and he slid the waiting puck home to win the game for the Kings.

The final shot totals were 49-27 in favor of Los Angeles. The Kings also out-attempted the Blackhawks 79-47.

Pluses

  • The penalty kill surprisingly looks great. The Blackhawks killed all four penalties they took tonight. With how brutal their defense is 5-on-5, it’s good to see they’ve figured out something when they’re down a man.
  • Jonathan Toews had his best game of the season tonight. He drove play, had some edge to his game, and scored the game-tying goal in the final minutes of regulation. The captain had a few great scoring chances and was finally rewarded. Hopefully this game can ignite Toews and get him on a roll. This team really needs him.
  • After a tough start to the game, Corey Crawford looked fantastic. He was the sole reason the Blackhawks even got a point out of tonight’s game. That’s a great sign for a player who’s struggled to begin the season.

Minuses

  • The line blender from Jeremy Colliton has to stop. I get that they’re struggling offensively right now, but they’re also not going to get anything going if the lines are being switched every game, during practice, and also every game. There’s obvious chemistry between certain players. Figure it out because this team has way too much offensive firepower to be struggling this much night in and night out.

The Blackhawks will head down the highway tomorrow night to face the Anaheim Ducks as they continue this road trip. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. CDT.

 

Center Ice Forums RECAP: Blackhawks fall 4-3 to Kings in overtime

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