The Los Angeles Kings hadn’t given up more than three goals in a game in 34 games before Sunday. Jonathan Quick hadn’t been pulled from a game in three years. So what did the Chicago Blackhawks do? They scored four goals on Quick, which got him yanked from net. Oh, and did I mention that one of those goals was actually an own goal by Robyn Regehr that kind of bounced off of Bryan Bickell’s leg? That happened and made everyone double over screaming with laughter (or maybe that was just me).
Now the action heads to Los Angeles, where the Kings have a 7-0 home record in the playoffs. The last time the Blackhawks set foot in Staples Center, they won 5-2 and ruined the Kings’ banner raising. Through two games, the Blackhawks have done exactly what they’re supposed to do: counter the Kings’ physicality with speed. Their fast game is catching the Kings off guard and shutting down their best players, and the Blackhawks’ defense is actually doing its job in holding the Kings to a handful of shots on goal in each period. Corey Crawford may not be getting peppered with shots all the time, but he’s quick to respond when they come (and also to respond when Jonathan Toews gets mauled).
The biggest factor to tonight’s game is that Mike Richards is sitting out another game. He was a last-minute scratch in Sunday’s game after having concussion symptoms stemming from the hit he took from Dave Bolland in Game 1. Richards is a big threat offensively, and his absence means one less scoring threat.
Tonight, the Blackhawks (and their fans) must ignore Tom Cruise in the stands and tune out Cartman’s voice. Instead of “Go Kings Go”, the Blackhawks will try to turn it into “No, Kings, No.”