The Los Angeles Kings’ run at a second consecutive Stanley Cup Championship has fallen short. The Kings were eliminated from the playoffs losing the series 4-1, in a double overtime 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks will advance to face the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final, and the Kings will hit the golf courses.
The Kings fell behind early, allowing two goals in the first 6 minutes of the game. Blackhawks defenseman, Duncan Keith, snuck one through quicks pads for his second of the playoffs to open the scoring. Then Patrick Kane, scored his 4th of the playoffs when he picked up a puck in the slot and waited just long enough to have an empty net to put Chicago up 2-0.
The Kings’ play came up short through the first period, getting out played and out skated through much of the first period. The Kings went over nine minutes into the game before getting their first shot on goal, the Blackhawks were already up 2-0 at that point.
The tides began to change in the second period when Dwight King, on the penalty kill, lit the lamp propelling the Kings back into the game. Kopitar tied the game in the third period when he swatted home a rebound from a point shot on the power play. The seconds ticked away and it seemed all but certain that the two teams were headed for overtime.
Then the Kings, and Kings fans, got a punched right in the gut by the hockey gods.
While coming out from behind of his own net, Justin Williams was tripped up by Bryan Bickell, turning the puck over onto the stick of Kane who burried it far side, giving the Hawks a one goal lead with under 4-minutes to play. However, the Kings sucked the life out of the United Center, when Mike Richards deflected a Kopitar shot with just 14-seconds left in regulation pushing the game into overtime.
In the end, the game would need two overtime periods to be decided.
After one scoreless extra period, it was Chicago who capitalized on an odd man rush to seal the win. Coming out of their own zone, Jonathan Toews floated a pass to Kane who finished the play with a high shot over a sprawling Jonathan Quick, completing the hat-trick and sending the Blackhawks to the Finals for the second time in 4-years.
The Blackhawks celebrated, the Kings community fell from cloud nine.
The Kings fought a valiant fight, having to defend the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history is no easy task. Now they move onto summer, a time where some important matters will have to get settled and ultimately set the tone for next season.
Questions like, will players like Rob Scuderi, Dustin Penner and Jonathan Bernier be playing in Los Angeles next year and how will the Kings work Dustin Brown’s new contract around their already tied up money, are only some of the questions that the Kings will have to face during the offseason.
Until next season.