Blackhawks beat Kings 2-1 in Game 1 of WCF

Sometimes you can get both what you want and what you need. The Chicago Blackhawks did just that as they opened the Western Conference Finals against the defending Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings with a solid team victory.

Not only did the Blackhawks get an important first win but they may have just proved they can play a physical style of hockey with the best of them. Even though the Kings had more hits 44 to the Hawks 38 the bigger hits went to the Hawks.

Viktor Stalberg had a bone cruncher on Kings Dman Jake Muzzin. The biggest hit may have come late in the third when Dave Bolland rocked Mike Richards who never did come back on the ice and maybe under review by the league. This type of play may have taken the Kings by surprised as not many finesse teams can also deliver blows too. Well LA Kings meet the Chicago Blackhawks.

The talk coming into this affair was how great LA goalie Jonathan Quick is. He did not disappoint he actually kept his team in this game which could have easily been four or five to one if not for his Quickness. He had a shut out going for the first half of the game.

The Kings opened up the scoring on a fluky play that saw a couple of bad clearing attempts go right to Kings forward Justin Williams who put one past Corey Crawford.

The Hawks did not get frustrated but stayed with their team game that we saw all during the regular season and waited until their chances presented themselves. The team should be comended for keeping their composure after outshooting LA 17-2 after the first period but were down 1-0 in goals. 

The first Hawks goal was off of a juicy rebound to the slot area right to Patrick Sharp which not even Quick could stop. The set up was perfect by Johnny Oduya who shot off of Quick’s pad low.

The second play was off of a deflection by Marian Hossa after a Duncan Keith blast from the point which again Quick had no chance on. Two goals were all that was needed as LA continues to have problems scoring.

What also was evident in the game was the speed that Blackhawks had the Kings just could not keep pace with in this game. The Hawks also moved the puck extremely fast out of their own zone and through the neutral zone and their transition game was flawless. The Hawks physicality was on par with the Kings which probably surprised them.  Look for them to come out with even more physicality in game two.

Every series brings learning opportunities and if anything the Blackhawks took from the Detroit series is even though you win the first game get ready for a long battle as the Kings will not go away easily being the defending champs. Both teams don’t have too long to think about this one as they are back at it tomorrow.  

The Hawks should have their heads on a swivel for game two as the Kings now know how physical the Hawks can get. Here’s to another good tilt between two great teams.

Three Stars of the game:

1.      Patrick Sharp

2.      Jonathan Quick

3.      Marian Hossa

Next game Sunday, June 2, at 7 p.m. CDT. Tune in on NBCSN in the U.S., or TSN and RDS in Canada; or listen in via WGN 720 and 97.9 FM radio.

Follow our Blackhawks team at @TCLBlackhawks; you can follow me at @sportshashhash.