Game 32: Kings Win 5-4, improve to 18-12-2
CHICAGO – There were those who worried about the Los Angeles Kings heading into Monday night’s contest including yours truly. The Kings had been shut out in their previous two games and a date with the defensively- (and offensively) potent Chicago Blackhawksin hostile territory seemed like the last thing they needed. To Los Angeles’ credit, though, they hung tight and despite trailing three times, were able to persevere and pull off the win salvaging their season series with the league’s best team.
After a relatively quiet first period where Michael Frolik put the Hawks out in front, the second was certainly did not lack any excitement as a combined five goals were scored.
Just 4:21 into the middle frame, Anze Kopitar got things started by sniping a beautiful top-corner shot into the back of the net for his 10th to end the Kings’ scoreless drought and more importantly, tie the game. Then, a few minutes later, the Kings were shorthanded but that certainly didn’t faze Jarret Stoll as he found himself on a 2-on-1 with Trevor Lewis. Stoll elected to keep the puck and he chose right as he fired his seventh past Corey Crawford to give Los Angeles their first lead of the night.
At the 24:31 mark of the period, however, it was Michael Frolik potting his second of the night to tie the game. The score remained that way until the final minute of the second when Patrick Kane scored with just 41 seconds to go in the frame to regain the Hawks the lead. The wind appeared to be out of the Kings’ sails but not so.
With just one second to go in the frame (and while the arena announcer was announcing the Kane goal), Drew Doughty made a beautiful single-handed effort as he deked out five defenders before having Dwight King rush in and tip in his fourth past Crawford to tie the game. After 40 minutes, it seemed the Kings now had the momentum.
With just under four minutes into the third, however, it was Chicago who regained the lead as captain Jonathan Toews made it 4-3. Los Angeles, however, was not done as just over four minutes later, Tyler Toffoli wristed his second-career NHL goal past Crawford to once again knot things up.
The score remained tied and seemed to be heading into overtime. However, with just 1:27 to go in third, it was Los Angeles’ captain’s turn to shine as Dustin Brown potted his 12th to give the Kings the late lead – and that was enough for the win as Los Angeles ends their two-game losing skid, kicking off their road swing on a positive note.
While he did allow four goals on 25 shots, Jonathan Quick was sharp when he had to be making timely saves not only to preserve the win but to keep his team in the game when they were trailing. The Kings offense meanwhile had a wake-up call as they were determined to put their lackluster effort against Vancouver on Saturday behind them and what better way to do that against the league’s best team in their home building.
The Kings peppered Corey Crawford with 36 shots and while the Montreal native has been great for much of the season, he wasn’t quite good enough on this night as the reigning champions showed why they are just that: champions.
There may have been a lot of skepticism heading into Monday night’s tilt for the Kings and their fans but after a performance like this (which is exactly what the doctor ordered) confidence is now riding high as the Kings prepare for their next game, a pivotal Thursday night matchup in the Gateway City against the St. Louis Blues. But first, the Los Angeles Kings have a more pressing matter as on Tuesday, the will be visiting The White House as they will continue the tradition of reigning champions visiting the President of the United States.