Kings, Quick Stun Blackhawks 2-0
Jonathan Quick makes 1 of his 38 saves. (photo courtesy of NHL.com)
On paper, this contest looked like a mismatch. The Blackhawks sported the league’s best record at 23-9-4, and had won five straight on home ice and carried a 6-0-1 record at home this month. Chicago also possessed the league’s best offense—which when compared to L.A.’s worst only helped more to make this game look like a lost cause. However, none of this accounts for Jonathan Quick.
The Kings defeated the Blackhawks 2-0 behind Quick, who stopped all 38 shots he faced (including 18 in the third period alone) and recorded his league-leading fifth shutout of the year. It was his sixteenth win of the year and his goals against average dropped to a measly 2.08, which is a percentage not too many other goalies can match with the number of starts that Quick has been given this year.
The first Kings’ goal came in the second period and became rather controversial in the minutes after the tally and especially once the game had concluded. After a soft rebound given up by Chicago’s Corey Crawford, Trent Hunter and Kyle Clifford placed themselves in front of the net and whacked away at the loose puck. It wasn’t until Crawford tumbled backwards that the puck found its way in. Hunter was credited with the goal; his second of the season and the Kings lead 1-0 with less than eight minutes to go in the second period.
Los Angeles added another goal at the beginning of the third period thanks to some more dirty work down low, this time from Jarret Stoll. A blue-line shot from Drew Doughty off seemingly multiple Chicago defenders eventually found its way to Stoll’s stick as he deposited it high into the net. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the game that he believed both goals should have been disallowed. He was particularly incensed about an uncalled slew foot which happened on the heels of Stoll’s tally in the third.
But nothing outside of the four minor penalties each team accrued throughout the game were called and the Kings were able to hold their lead and emerge with a hard-earned victory. Both teams were a less-than-remarkable 0-4 in extra-man advantages.
The win also marked head coach Darryl Sutter’s third in his current tenure. The Kings also have yet to lose in regulation under their new coach.
The turnaround is quick one for Los Angeles, who travels to Winnipeg for a game Thursday night. The Jets currently sit at second place in the Southeast division with a record of 17-4-5, and have made a habit out of winning at home in what some have called the loudest arena in the league. Although if tonight’s contest proves anything; it’s that one can never discount another due to increasingly lopsided odds.
INJURY UPDATE: In Tuesday’s game against the Coyotes, forward Simon Gagne left in the second period after Sutter told the media he had gotten “a little banged up.” Yesterday, it was confirmed that the 31-year-old winger has a concussion and will be out indefinitely. He did not make the trip out to Chicago with the team; however he has not yet been placed on IR.