May 24, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) controls the puck in front of Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) during the first period in game three of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
The Blackhawks were looking for some redemption after a horrible third period in Game #2. Corey Crawford was the player on the Hawks that you had to worry about the most heading into Game #3 and early on he got some action and looked relatively sharp to start the contest. The Hawks took the early lead when Jonathan Toews out worked the Kings who were on a powerplay after a Michal Handzus penalty, and he buried one five hole on Jonathan Quick. Unfortunately for the Hawks they were still on the Penalty Kill and Slava Voynov slight delay lasted long enough to fool Crawford to tie up the contest.
The Captain would not let the Hawks head to intermission tied and he put in a Michal Rozsival rebound to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead. The play was set up by Rozsival who really looked like the Rozsival we were used to seeing last year during the playoffs. Before the horn sounded Toews set up Marian Hossa right out in front but Quick just got a piece of the shot to keep it 2-1. NBC made a big deal of Anze Kopitar playing against the Handzus line and getting away from Toews, but it will Darryl Sutter have to re-think his plans with the Captain off to a quick start in Game #3?
The second period was pretty disgusting if you’re a Blackhawks fan. The Kings only took four shots on goal and yet when the period ended it was 3-2 and the Kings were leading. The first goal was unfortunate as Johnny Oduya was clearing the puck around the boards and it hit the referee in the leg and with Handzus watching the activities Jeff Carter put it past Crawford to tie up the contest. The Hawks had three powerplays and came up dry in the period. Granted each one seemed to improve upon the other but none could be categorized as scary. Tyler Toffoli scored on a break away on a shot that I still can’t believe got through Crawford. The horn sounded with the Hawks out shooting the Kings 10-4 but trailing the game 3-2. The question is whether the Hawks can find a way to come back.
One would have thought the Hawks would come out flying in the third period, but it was the total opposite and it was the Kings on the offensive the entire period and it paid off with Drew Doughty scoring a goal that Crawford needed to grab (but was screened). The Hawks showed very little life except when they were taking really bad penalties like Rozsival cross check that ate up two precious minutes. Joel Quenneville finally saw what all Blackhawks fans have seen all series that Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp need to get away from Handzus and they had Ben Smith as their center with better looking action but still no goals. The Hawks scored very late to lost 4-3 in LA and waste the Captain’s huge first period.
-The Hawks haven’t won the first game on the road in a series since San Jose 2010
-Patrick Sharp got the last second goal, Hopefully this kicks off a hot streak from #10
-Crawford should a lot of frustration again tonight. He needs to get back to his game very very soon.
-Handzus is great on the PK and that is all. He needs to be in the pressbox for Game #4 but we all know this won’t happen.
-Game #4 is on Memorial Day at the convenient time of 8pm central
LET’S GO HAWKS!!!!