The Chicago Blackhawks took the ice after having four days off so you would have thought they would control the play most of the night, but the Stanley Cup Champs had a different thought when they entered the United Center on Monday night.
Without Marian Hossa in the lineup, Coach Quenneville placed Michael Frolik on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad and was rewarded very quickly when five minutes into the game Frolik scored his second goal of the season from a nice feed by Brandon Saad. Frolik hadn’t scored since opening day which was also against LA Kings starting goalie Jonathan Quick. The Kings started controlling the puck midway through the first period until Mike Richards fanned on a shot and his stick found Viktor Stalberg‘s face for a four minute power-play. The Hawks Achilles heel for the past few seasons has been the power-play and the four minutes was pretty listless except for Patrick Kane dinging the post. The Toews line dominated the play late in the first with only an outstretched stick of Rob Scuderi from making it 2-0 when Saad made a great steal and pass to Toews but the return pass was broken up or Saad or Frolik had an open net. Crawford stopped all seven shots he saw in the period but only was really tested once on a redirected shot that he was able to glove.
The second period was all about momentum with the Kings seizing it first when Jordan Nolan checked Marcus Kruger a tad late and then had to deal with Brandon Bollig. The tide turned with the fight and the Kings scored twice once when Anze Kopitar put one top shelf over Crawford and then with the Hawks on the power-play Jarrett Stoll scored a short handed goal. A very rare occurrence happened later in the period when Kane got cross-checked and it wasn’t called, he retaliated and received only his second minor penalty of the year. The Hawks killed the penalty then regained momentum when Duncan Keith made a shot/pass to Frolik who put it past Quick for his second of the night. It was the first time he scored two goals in a game since joining the Blackhawks. The last minute was very hectic, first with Patrick Kane scoring his 17th of the season when he got behind the Kings defense and juked Quick for the goal, but the all five Hawks were guilty of letting Drew Doughty get through the entire team and get to Crawford who stopped the initial shot, but Dwight King skate scored the game tying goal with .05 left in the period. The Kings were very aggressive on the fore check but were benefited with their grabbing and interfering not being called. LA outshot the Hawks 12-5 in the period.
The third period started off on the right foot when Jonathan Toews put in the puck past Quick for a 4-3 lead. The lead didn’t last long when Tyler Toffoli snapped one past Crawford to tie up the contest. Crawford was not sharp for most of the night and should have stopped at least two of the goals, I would suspect that Ray Emery will be in the net for Calgary tomorrow night. The Kings controlled the action for most of the third period with constant pressure and kept the action down in the Hawks end of the ice and in the end it paid off when Dustin Brown‘s shot was blocked by Johnny Oduya but bounced back to Brown who put in the game winner with 1:27 left in the third period. The Hawks pulled Crawford but were only able to get a Kane back handed shot on net in the final minute. The horn sounded and the Hawks skated to the locker room with a 5-4 loss.
Michael Frolik was the star of the game for the Hawks with 2 goals and one assist. Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith (3 assists) were a +3 for the night while Johnny Oduya was really bad with a -3. Michal Roszival wasn’t very good tonight either which really hurt the Hawks in their own end.
With all the pressure the Kings were providing the Hawks really missed the play of Marian Hossa.
It sounds like a broken record but the Hawks give up way too many goals in the last minute of periods.
With the Flames in town look for a lot of Jarome Iginla chatter throughout the day tomorrow, the Flames visit the United Center Tuesday night and the puck drops at 7:30 central. Let’s hope it’s a different outcome tomorrow night.
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