Game 58; 30-22-6
LOS ANGELES - Give them credit for resiliency and for finding other outlets to score (in addition to scoring period) but the Los Angeles Kings lose their fourth-straight, falling to 1-8-1 in their last 10 as the Chicago Blackhawks sweep the season series with a 5-3 victory.
After falling behind 2-0 in the early going, it appeared as if the Kings were picking up right where they left off like so many times before in the last couple of weeks. But just 68 seconds after Bryan Bickell put the Hawks up by two, Drew Doughty took a perfect feed from Slava Voynov before rocketing his eighth past Corey Crawford to put the Kings on the board. The goal came on the power play. Anze Kopitar picked up the second assist on the tally.
In the second, the Kings were at it again. 6:30 into the frame, Anze Kopitar (who else?) streaked in the offensive zone before potting his 17th to tie the game. Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli picked up the helpers. But at 13:51 of the middle frame, Marcus Krueger tipped in his sixth to regain the Chicago lead.
In the third, the Hawks began to pull away. At the 7:01 mark, Nick Leddy's sixth made it 4-2 and, just a few minutes later, Patrick Kane tipped in his second of the evening and 27th on the year to give the Hawks their first three-goal lead of the night.
Just 33 seconds later, Tyler Toffoli snapped out of his scoring slump by notching his 10th (Carter and Kopitar with the assists) but it was too little, too late as the silver-and-black lose again to the team who eliminated them in last spring's Western Final.
For the Los Angeles Kings and their fans, the Olympic break could not come fast enough. As previously mentioned, this was the team's fourth-straight loss as they fall to 1-8-1 in their last 10 outings, Conversely, some good came out of the loss, as hard as that may be to acknowledge.
Someone besides Anze Kopitar scored on Monday for Los Angeles. Not only that but the quality of goals scored were a promising sign as a showcase such as that is what the Kingdom is more or less used to seeing from their team, even if they are generally a more defensive squad.
Drew Doughty's rocket of a goal early on proves why he is one of the premier defensemen in the league while Tyler Toffoli's two-point night was a welcomed change given not only the youngster's immense talent but his status in Los Angeles as a fan favourite.
In a rare occurance, the Kings were outshot in the opening period (12-6) but their resiliency stood to the test. While it was great to see the silver-and-black score some goals, persevering after an early deficit against the defending champs is certainly something to feel good about - even though the Kings eventually lost.
But after being outshot in the opening frame, the Kings outshot and outplayed the Hawks in periods two and three. It may not be easy to see but there is some silver lining with their loss on Monday.
The Los Angeles Kings now have some time off as they prepare to host the surging Columbus Blue Jackets, fresh off a win in Anaheim, on Thursday night. The game will be Los Angeles's last before the Olympic break.
As I've been saying for far too often lately, let's hope the Kings can create a little momentum and win.