After strong start, Blackhawks escape vs. L.A.
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org February 18, 2013 12:06AM
Chicago Blackhawks Vs Los Angeles Kings. 3rd Period. Chicago Blackhawks goaltender No.30 Ray Emery stops the deflection shot of Loa Angeles Kings No.22 Trevor Lewis. February 17, 2013 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: March 19, 2013 6:31AM
Through two periods Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings, the Blackhawks had a 32-18 lead in shots and a 3-0 lead on the scoreboard, dominating the defending Stanley Cup champs in every facet.
By the time the game ended, the Hawks were lucky to have escaped with a victory, having allowed two Mike Richards power-play goals and spending the final 61 seconds on the penalty kill with Kings goalie Jonathan Quick on the bench for an extra attacker.
After firing 21 shots at Quick in the second period, the Hawks only had five in the third.
“We don’t talk about changing our game; we’re trying to play hard,” Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith said of playing with a lead. “But when you’re up 3-0, and they’re down 3-0, they have all the incentive just to push it and join [the rush] and go and try to press things. They got one early, and they kept it going from there. Five-on-five, we were fine. We just took some penalties.”
Coach Joel Quenneville said he wasn’t intentionally coaching a passive style to protect the lead but rather that the Kings seized control.
“Over the course of the game, everyone’s going to have some momentum and zone time,” he said. “It’s tough to have 60 minutes the way we played the first 40 minutes.”
“We don’t want to let them get back into it like that,’’ Keith said, ‘‘but they scored on the power play right away [56 seconds into the third period]. That gives them some life.
‘‘They came out hard in the third. We were just trying to hang on. You’ve got to give them some credit, too.”
Winger Patrick Sharp snapped a 10-game streak without a goal when his shot from the slot sailed over a prone Quick, who had dived to stop captain Jonathan Toews’ stuff-in attempt.
Sharp hadn’t been playing poorly during the stretch — in fact, he’s second on the team with 10 assists. But he had been getting so many chances and hitting so many posts, winger Patrick Kane called him “snakebitten.”
“I know when I play well in all areas, those pucks are going to go in, and I’m going to get points,” Sharp said. “It’s been a topic of conversation. It feels good now that the game is over with.”
Sharp said he never lost confidence.
“It’s a tough league; it’s tough to score goals,” he said.
“I feel like I’m still an effective goal scorer in this league, and I have a lot more left in me.”
Quenneville said goalie Corey Crawford (upper-body injury) is progressing and is still day-to-day. The Hawks’ No. 1 netminder hasn’t skated since Thursday, and the Hawks don’t practice Monday, so it seems likely that Ray Emery will start again Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks, as the Hawks try to match the record for the best start to a season. But Quenneville said he didn’t foresee Crawford’s situation becoming a long-term concern.