One more special message to go. And then the Hawks are done, and they can go home.
The roadtrip from hell finally comes to an end today on Figueroa and 7th in downtown LA. However, what usually is a hellish trip in terms of results has only been so in terms of time and distance this time. Worst case, the Hawks will take 7 of 12 points on it, which would be hard to complain about. But we will, because after starting 3-0 it would be disappointing to lose three in a row, and honestly, the Kings should be beated. But I always say that.
What the Hawks will see on the opposite bench is a themselves maybe a season or two ago. The Kings have tons of young players, and very well may be very good in a season or two's time. We've all seen the damage Kopitar can do, Dustin Brown hits everything in sight, and Patrick O'Sullivan has been a thorn in our ass on several occasions. The big surprise of the season has been Drew Doughty. Stepping up after Jack Johnson's season-ending injury (what is it about young d-men named Johnson and season ending injuries?), Doughty has been a revelation, playing in every situation and finding himself on LA's top pair. He's been doing this on a team that's been shockingly sound defensively, after being a total mess last season.
The Kings gave the Hawks fits last season, and for no reason that we can see. They won once in the UC in OT after the Hawks declined to bother with an effort, blasted them 9-2 two days later in LA on the night Toews got hurt, and then overcame a 4 goal 3rd period deficit to force overtime before The Sharp-Shooter put an end to the madness in maybe the stupidest hockey game I've ever seen. The last game of a roadtrip is always dicey, as you figure the Hawks are already thinking about going home. That won't work. Despite their record, beating the Kings at home will take a solid effort, and The Men of Four Feathers can worry about getting on the plane after they've picked up points 8 and 9 on this trip. Go get 'em.