If you are a fan of the Los Angeles Kings, tonight you get to celebrate the small victory. If you are a fan of the Chicago Blackhawks, you ought to be celebrating tonight too — because your team still has the advantage to win the war.
After giving up a huge two-goal lead late in the second period and eventually falling in a 6-2 loss on home ice, Chicago has a lot of explaining to do in those post-game locker room chats tonight. The words will be fed along the lines of not letting up on the gas, not taking dumb penalties and so on and so forth. But what Chicago will most likely focus on tonight, and fans should focus on as well, is there is a reason teams play a seven-game series and this one is far from over.
Yes, it would have been grand for Chicago to travel to Los Angeles with a 2-0 series lead, but not necessarily realistic; just look at how Los Angeles actually got to this place in the playoffs.
Remember, though, Chicago has been here before, multiple times in fact. And each of those multiple times, this team has dug to whatever place it is champions dig to and found a way to bounce back. More often than not, the Blackhawks often need to be reminded they can lose before they show the world again why they win.
Had the Blackhawks been able to keep the Kings tied down with the superior puck management the team showed through the first half of the game, the end score would have been gravely different, but the Hawks couldn’t restrain the Kings’ ability to make a comeback. The visiting team had full reign of the ice through the last 22 minutes of play.
Chicago will now go to Los Angeles with something to prove. But when has this team not had something to prove in any of the series they have played thus far in the playoffs? Down 2-0 to the St. Louis Blues in the first round with critics talking about how the Stanley Cup champs would be swept before they even got their skates on the ice. Then allowing the “weak” (although not weak at all) Minnesota Wild to tie the series 2-2 in the second round; the Blackhawks weren’t supposed to let that happen also.
And here Chicago is with a tied series after just two games, which yes, you guessed it, the Blackhawks weren’t supposed to do either. But they did and much like the previous two series — the back of that Los Angeles net hasn’t seen the last of the defending champs.