Kings Blank-Hawked by Chicago

Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings reacts after the goal of Tomas Kopecky #82 of the Chicago Blackhawks for a 3-0 lead during the third period at the Staples Center on March 18, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Game 68: Blackhawks 3, Kings 0


I apologize for the lateness of this post. I actually did have the majority of it done last night. But I left off my opinion of the game until the morning, because I was both exhausted from a long day and a little pissed off. I started off great, getting all the links ready to go, and even selected the art to use. I was ready for a quick update and posting.

When I woke up this morning, my cable modem didn't work. And I spent the better part of the day trying to figure out how to log back in before I said screw it, and I took a nap with my toddler.

Turns out the path of me posting this recap sort of mirrors the Kings' game. Started off with a lot of energy, but tuckered out at the end. We were both hammered by problems, and there was some sleeping involved. The only difference is I didn't get shut out, like the Kings did.

The ONLY positive thing to come out of Thursday's game was the Kings' performance on the penalty kill. 20 straight penalties have been killed off, lifting the Kings to an unheard of 17th overall. Considering they were 30th in the beginning of the season, this is a tremendous achievement.

But, the reason why they were on the power play so much were just lapses of judgment. Justin Williams' 4-minute double minor for high sticking Brent Sopel first put the Kings on the defensive. Then Raitis Ivanans got two for interference, to test the Kings again.

The second period was just brutal. Three shots by the Kings? Really?!?

And the one player that I would give a pass if he had a bad game is doing just the opposite. Joanthan Quick had a great game, despite blown defensive calls and turnovers. Of all the action he has seen, I have expected him to fall apart. But he's a solid as they come.

Chicago isn't some scrub team. They play a very smart puck-control game, and the Kings couldn't counter, which would suck if they met in the first round of the playoffs...

• AP: Kopecky scores twice, Blackhawks beat Kings
The Kings were shut out for only the second time this season. Quick stopped 34 shots—including a breakaway 41 seconds into the third period by Patrick Sharp
• LA Times: Kings need to regain their spark, and in a hurry
"If we want to get into the playoffs we've got to execute right now," winger Ryan Smyth said. "We've got to hit the reset button, for sure."
• LA Kings: Kings blanked by Hawks
In another disappointing effort against a quality opponent, the Kings accomplished almost nothing over the final two periods on Thursday night and suffered a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks before a sellout crowd at STAPLES Center.
• Hawks rebound with 3-0 win over struggling Kings
Chicago took the first eleven shots of the period, punctuating their domination of the Kings' zone when Patrick Sharp's blast knocked Quick's mask off at 6:13.
They said it
“I just think it’s just a lack of execution right now. I think we’re not completing passes, we’re getting away from our game plan and we’re just not doing the things that brought us success from the beginning of the year, in the early part of the year. – Matt Greene, on the poor play
But at the end of the day, like I just said, you’ve got to bear down. We need a good practice tomorrow, to do all the little things correctly, and then we’ve got to carry that over against the Islanders on Saturday.” – Jonathan Quick, on how best to describe the team’s emotions
"Tonight, in the end it is my fault. I turned the puck over twice on one shift, and it led to a goal. That kind of set the tone for the rest of the game. I think ultimately everyone could be better here. If I make a smarter, better play there we are going to the third period tied 0-0." – Dustin Brown, on the game
“It’s the playoff kind of a mode that we’re looking for right now. Again, the positive out of that first period is the penalty kill, and that’s where you’ve got to elevate your game." – coach Terry Murray, on his definition of a better “attitude”
Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings hangs his head as he skates on the ice against the Chicago Blackhawks during the game on March 18, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)
Around the Kingdom

• The Royal Half: Beware the Kings of March, Not the March of Kings
But the best news to come out of tonights disheartening loss to the Chicago Blackhawks was the triumphant return of Bob Miller from his recent bout with the Shingles.
• Elmo owns the Kings
Shots that go wide don’t beat Elmo. Shots that are not taken never reach Elmo. When nearly the entire game is played on the side of the ice away from Elmo, Elmo can relax and watch his team score goals.
• HockeyBuzz's Matthew Barry: Choke-A-Thon Continues With 3-0 Loss to Chicago
A player text confirms that several of the boys are “banged up”. Stoll had to be helped off the ice late in the 3rd. It was explained that it was a broken skate blade. Uh-huh. Is that what they're calling lower body injuries these days, 'cause it didn't look like any skate blade to me.
• Jewels of the Crown: Top 5 Kings Killers
Kings Killer #3: Patrick Sharp (Chicago Blackhawks). Since the Blackhawks have come to the fore, their style has evolved into an exciting brand of hockey. This also allows for players to feed off of weaker teams, i.e. the Kings of seasons past. Even though the Kings are stronger this season, Sharp can always find the loophole. While everyone looks to Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, I keep my eye on Sharp. He could do the Kings in on his own. Gulp.
From across the aisle, the Chicago viewpoint

• Chicago Tribune: Blackhawks blank Kings 3-0
Niemi, who wasn't tested often as the Hawks reverted to their puck possession game and tight defense, recorded his fifth shutout of the season. The Kings managed only 17 shots.
• Chicago Sun-Times: Short-handed victory for Blackhawks
The Kings had their chances, but they either failed to capitalize or were turned away by Hawks goalie Antti Niemi, who made 17 saves for his fifth shutout.
• Second City Hockey: But They've Got Guts, And Guts Is Enough: Hawks 3 - Some People Masquerading As The Kings 0
Look, I could go through all three periods and the big points, but they all look the same.  The Hawks smothering the Kings, Antti Niemi an absolute spectator, and creating few-few more chances against Jonathan Quick.  How many big saves did Niemi make?  Three?
• ESPN Chicago: Hawks break slump with shutout win
Despite the win, the Hawks had one of their worst nights in the faceoff circle, winning just 39 percent of their draws.
• Blackhawks Confidential: Blackhawks stop the bleeding and losing, crowning Kings 3-0
Well, Chicagoans weren't the only ones snoozing. So were the slumbering Kings, who were held to minimal shots. Between Los Angeles' last shot in the first period and their first shot in the second period, 16 minutes, 39 seconds ticked away with the Hawks' usual strong puck possession on cruise control and the Kings looking more lackluster the longer the game dragged on.
Peeping the dailies


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