After falling behind 1-0 after the first period, the Chicago Blackhawks did not panic, despite the LA Kings’ adeptness the art of the upset. The fifth ranked Kings took advantage of a mishandle by Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford to take a lead on a wrister by winger Justin Williams.
Crawford was sharp the rest of the way and did not allow another goal, keeping his team in the game. Despite some golden chances in the first period, LA goalie Jonathan Quick kept the Hawks off the board.
Chicago finally broke through in the second period after Patrick Sharp put in a rebound off a shot by Johnny Oduya. About four minutes later, with 3:38 to go in the second period, Marian Hossa gave the Blackhawks the lead on a deflection of a shot by defenseman Duncan Keith.
This proved to be the game-winning goal as Chicago did not relinquish their slim lead for the rest of the game. Despite the loss, Quick was spectacular between the pipes, saving 36 of the 38 shots that he faced. He will need to be solid throughout the whole series if LA hopes to win, as the offense has struggled at times during the playoffs.
Chicago also needs to keep up the stellar defense. Corey Crawford is not a star goaltender by any means. Exposing him to only 19 shots should be a recipe for success if Crawford is able to hold up his end of the bargain.
For the Kings, they still face an uphill climb in this series. However, this Game 1 loss obviously isn’t a disaster for them. They can still neutralize Chicago’s home-ice advantage in Game 2 with a win. If they can make Crawford face 25-30 shots, they should be able to capitalize on a few more scoring opportunities.
The Kings are a team that can make the climb, as they proved in last year’s magical Stanley Cup run. They will try to split the two games in Chicago on Monday at 8:00 Eastern time.