The first two periods made for an interesting game. A strange goal off of Justin Williams' skate near the end of the 2nd period spurred a comeback of amazing proportions for the LA Kings. 5 more unanswered goals later and the series is tied 1-1 heading to LA on Saturday.
Jeff Carter had a hat trick to put the cherry on top of this garbage sundae of a game. The previously formidable Penalty Kill showed some cracks, which is not great. I don't expect that to continue because I am going to hang this game up as an embarrassment that the Blackhawks will not allow to happen again.
The Toews line and Kopitar line matched up against each other with the Toews line coming out on top in terms of possession. Toews was a beast through the neutral zone with 91% controlled zone entries. Saad also looked great tonight and led the team in possession at 5v5.
Bollig's bad penalty that lead to the Kings scoring on the Power Play was yet another example of poor decision making from a player who does not offer very much on the ice. It's time for him to grab some popcorn in the press box for the rest of the playoffs. Handzus was not great either and frankly, his penalty killing hasn't been all that great in the last two games. Versteeg had a terrible game. His line was absolutely crushed in possession. If I were the coach, he would be on the checking line with Kruger.
Let's hope Andrew Shaw plays on Saturday. I know many think of him as simply a pest but he is much more than that. Not only does he put himself in the danger zone right in front of the net, but he works well on the Power Play too. He is a surprisingly good neutral zone player and the Blackhawks desperately need controlled zone entries right now. He's even pretty effective at recovering the puck from dump ins so that would help too. Shaw brings a ton of energy to whatever line he is on despite sometimes taking a bad penalty here and there. Keep your fingers crossed that he plays in the next game.
The Kings are a very good team, but so are the Blackhawks. The series is tied and luckily, the team that wins the second game is not automatically deemed the series winner. It will be fairly important to take a game from the Kings in LA, but that seems doable. Shake it off and let's hope for a better game on Saturday.
Here are the advanced stats from Extra Skater