Blackhawks Can't Solve Quick in 2-0 Loss to Kings
It was the kind of game Blackhawks fans knew they could win if Chicago could just break through with a goal before the start of the third period.
Jonathan Quick stopped all 38 shots by the Chicago Blackhawks and Trent Hunter and Jarret Stoll scored a dirty goal each en route to their 2-0 victory over Chicago last night. Los Angeles Kings won their second straight and improve to 5-4-1 in their last ten games.
Patrick Sharp had a team-high eight shots on net for Chicago, but the Hawks couldn't find a way to breach the U.S. born Kings' netminder, despite several good scoring chances.
The Blackhawks, on the whole, played a good game. Their 38 total shots contained several opportunities that easily could have tied the game, but Quick was too hot to handle. With the loss, Chicago is still 7-2-1 in their last ten games and still lead the NHL with 50 points.
Both goals scored by Los Angeles were crash-the-net type plays that Crawford had little chance in stopping. The Kings deserve credit for their tenacity in getting into the dirty areas to get their goals.
Trent Hunter kicked-off the scoring with his rebound tally midway through the second period after Kyle Clifford crashed the Chicago net and the Hawks' defensmen were unable to clear out in front.
On an almost identical play, Jarret Stoll picked up a rebound that he had little trouble putting away to make it 2-0 a little more than a minute into the third period.
And that, folks, was all she wrote.
The good news for Chicago was the solid play of Corey Crawford of late. The Chicago netminder stopped 36 of 38 shots on net and came up with a few big momentum saves. There were stretches of last night's game where "Craw" was single-handedly keeping Chicago in the game. Unfortunately for Chicago, Quick was doing the same for his club, just to a greater degree.
Crawford is still 14-8-2 on the season and is 2-1 in his last three starts after temporarily riding the bench for several games due to a hot Ray Emery. Crawford has only allowed four goals on 97 shots during that span. Having two hot goalies is always a good problem to have.
The Chicago defense has allowed a few too many shots for comfort, but they have been much better in December especially in front of both Crawford and Emery. If they can continue to improve heading into the second half of the season, Chicago's post-season outlook is very bright.
The Chicago Blackhawks get set to open their regular season series against the Detroit Redwings when they host their rivals at the United Center on Friday, December 30th at 7:30 pm CT. The game will be televised on CSN-Chicago, with radio broadcast on WGN 720.