Wasted chances in second period stymie Blackhawks
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter May 21, 2014 10:34PM
Updated: June 24, 2014 7:47AM
The Blackhawks knew what they were getting into.
“They’re never out of a game or a series,” defenseman Brent Seabrook said before Game 1 of the Western Conference final, referring to the resilience of the Los Angeles Kings. “If we get up, we have to step on their throats.”
Seabrook’s words rang loud and clear and quite a bit hollow Wednesday night after the Hawks failed to put the Kings away when they had the chance in Game 2 and painfully paid for it with a stunning 6-2 loss at the United Center.
“I guess we got what we deserved,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “We were playing some really good hockey in the first two periods. It turned around pretty quickly.
“You’ve got to give [the Kings] credit. That’s a team that wants to win. They have a lot of experience at it and know what to do in a series like this. But we have to try to stay with it and maintain control when we have it. We’ll be better.”
As it turned out, Seabrook had the biggest chance to “step on their throats,” but he was stymied by goalie Jonathan Quick — a play that in retrospect looked like a game-changer.
With the Hawks leading 2-0 and a ton of momentum at their backs with 7:10 left in the second period, Seabrook and forward Kris Versteeg led a two-on-one break that had the look of every other odd-man rush the Hawks have capitalized on in previous playoff games. But when Seabrook one-timed Versteeg’s well-executed pass, Quick made the stop, the puck popped in the air and the opportunity was gone.
It was all downhill from there. Quick stopped the Hawks’ last 14 shots.
“You hope it goes in, but he’s a great goalie, and he makes the save,” Versteeg said. “He really kept them in the game. They were obviously the better team tonight. We’re just going to have to find a way to go into their building and win.”
The Hawks were loath to say it was the turning point. The fact is the Kings scored six unanswered goals after that miss.
“That was definitely a big stop,” Toews said.
“But situations like that are going to happen. We had some big stops the other way around from [Corey Crawford] in Game 1. I don’t think you look at it as a play that’s going to dictate the rest of the game.”
Regardless, the Hawks’ inability to parlay their obvious second-period momentum into a bigger lead was the difference.
“I think we’re kind of ticked off that we might have let one slip away from us in our own building,” Toews said.
“But we can’t dwell on it too much. We have to focus on what we can do better and make sure we’re ready to play a more complete game.’’