NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks

They Don’t Love You Like I Love You: Blackhawks 4, Kings 1

Box Score

Event Summary

War on Ice

And just like that, all is right in the Hawks world. For those among us obsessed with the 60 minute effort, you could make a case that tonight was your night. The Hawks, without their most dynamic offensive player, fired 40 shots on net against the team with the best shot suppression in the league.

The Hawks never trailed in this one and if it weren’t for a pretty awful goal let in by LEMONT NATIVE Scott Darling, he could have had back to back shutouts.

Let’s move right along.

–If the Kings do manage to make the playoffs (which they most assuredly will), at least the Hawks can say they did everything to keep them out. I was thinking about the Bears/Packers from a couple years ago for whatever reason tonight. Not that cross-sport comparisons is something I’m big on, but it was still a similar situation.

This time at least, the Hawks put the Kings a foot closer to the chopping block. The Hawks had a stranglehold on this one from pretty much the first shift when Patrick Sharp sprung Antoine Vermette on a semi odd-man rush.

Even with the Hawks cranking up the hitting for the meatball contingent in the second period, the Kings still only half-heartedly responded.

The big difference was the Hawk forwards had a ton of jump through the defensive and neutral zone. So plodders like Robyn Regehr were getting torched and leading to various odd man rushes early on.

Also, Oduya and Hjalmarsson have returned to Swedish deity status.

–Speaking of Regehr, if this was the version during last summer’s 7 game series, things may have turned out a little differently. He was a step slow all night and getting matched up against Shaw, Saad and Bickell didn’t help matters.

–There’s something about the Kings that brings out the best in Brandon Saad. In the first period, he took the puck in the neutral zone and blew past Regehr to lead a 2-on-1.

It was an eerily similar play to the first minute of overtime of Game 7 when he left a trail of scorched earth only to blow a tire right as he shot on Quick.

Of course later, he almost died on the ice when he got pancaked by Drew Doughty and Kyle Clifford but much like Andrew Shaw, I don’t think there’s much to bruise up there.

–So apparently there was a rumor Kyle Baun was going to take Teuvo’s spot in the lineup tonight. I have no idea the validity of that rumor. It seems a little far-fetched especially with a game against Buffalo looming.

Nevertheless, Teuvo made two plays that were out of this world special.

The first, obviously his breakaway. Technically, he was not open. The Kings had sticks in the passing lane so any attempt from Keith that was near or around the ice would have gotten picked off. The only thing he could do is fire a half slap shot towards Teuvo.

Teuvo picked the pass out of mid-air, dropped it to his feet and was off on a breakaway. I have no idea how many people in the world could have made this play. A rough estimate would be somewhere between Pavel Datsyuk, Patrick Kane, some bloke in the KHL and now Teuvo.

The skill level on this play was face-melting. Quick made the save on the breakaway but that still shouldn’t take away what happened previously.

The second was a play he made late in the second period. Holding the puck at the point and with traffic in front of the net but a teammate standing at the post, Teuvo attempted an alley oop play. It didn’t work but, as McClure said, the thought process (D.J.) is what is most encouraging.

In fact, the only other player in the NHL I can recall even attempting that sort of play was Wayne Gretzky and he used to try it from behind the net to get the puck to his linemate in the slot.

Pure sorcery.

–Jonathan Quick has played a ton of games this year. He’s been a puddle in the playoffs before after playing that much. We’ll see what happens this year.

–With a Blues regulation loss and the Hawks regulation win, the Hawks sit one point back of them. Perhaps just as large, the Hawks and Blues now have the same amount of regulation wins. The division is still in sights at 4 points back, I suppose, with a game at hand on the Predators if you’re into that sort of thing.

The Wild are three points back with the same amount of games left and 40 regulation wins to the Hawks 37.

We’ll see how she turns.

  • Aaeismacgychel

    For all the hand-wringing and eulogies and talk of going nuclear and firing everybody these past few week, it’s time we finally just accept one simple thing about our Hawks that we seem to be incapable of remembering: The Blackhawks are 2 different teams, not 1. There is the team that plays against lower tier teams that frustrates us to the point of losing our minds with their irresponsible and downright lazy and careless play. And then there’s that worldbeating team who show up against to tier competition that we sing odes to. How many games this year against top competition has this Hawks team truly been outplayed in? 2? 3 at most? There is something primal that awakens in the Hawks against good teams. It’s as though they go out with the explicit purpose of pummeling the team who considers themelves an equal into a bloody pulp, then lighting their limp body on fire, and eventually pissing on it to put out the flames. This was the angriest, nastiest, and most focused the Hawks have played all year. And while I know there are big reasons to worry about this team in the playoffs, it’s hard to believe the team who showed up tonight won’t show up for the playoffs. They might be a bit slower, a bit older, and no longer the fighter they were in their prime, but this is a veteran boxer who knows what a title fight is and loves the idea of wiping the smirk of his highly rated opponent straight off his face. Great win tonight

    • guest

      Honestly I think there’s a teaching point in the very team we played tonight. The Kings simply and visibly don’t give a shit for most of the regular season, the very problem we’ve been tearing our head over. They’ve given so few shits that they are currently out of a playoff spot. Despite that, the writers here (in unison with most of the hockey media) scoff at the idea they might not make it in, and most project them to go deep into the playoffs from the 8th seed they’ll squeak into.

      Why don’t we give the hawks this benefit of the doubt? Why do we scream and cry and rend our clothes about how terrible they looked against the Hurricanes, only to turn around and smugly pencil the regularly-dropping-games-to-shitty-teams Kings in for a repeat?

      Two reasons I can think of, not sure if there are more:
      1) Q hate/confirmation bias: every time we drop a game to a shitty team, it builds the narrative that Q is a crazy person who had two can’t-lose rosters dropped in his lap and still almost managed to lose with them. We’ve become so wary of lazy “they didn’t care tonight” arguments that simply correlate score->caring level that we’ve overcorrected and completely discounted the perhaps-worthwhile notion that sometimes, they’re just not going to try that hard against the Avs in mid-February. That said, I don’t really dispute most of the criticisms, especially the head-scratcher that is Roszival not enjoying semi-retirement in Rockford, Steeger’s complete loss of utility but continued enjoyment of plum assignments following his brief stint on that Richards-Kane-him juggernaut, or the well-documented playing of facepunchers over Our Finnish Lord and Saviour Teuvo.

      2) Stats (and this one has been specifically mentioned on the blog): The Kings express their lack of shits while still being one of the best shot suppression teams in the league, losing only because they do not deign to score goals. The hawks, meanwhile, shrivel up completely, hand over their blueline, and scramble around disgracefully (with a healthy dose of turnovers inside the zone) during their periods of ennui. The argument goes, the Kings play Playoff Hockey, and once they’re in the REAL show, the dominance begins, while to step it up the Hawks will need to find that next gear… AND re-learn a defensive system.

      I dunno, I honestly think this comparison still privileges The Californians a bit too much. We focus on our failures and their successes. Maybe it’s the innate pessimism of the Cubs leaking through, maybe it’s the intellectual conceit that, as a fan, you’d rather be pleasantly surprised after forecasting doom than upset and embarrassingly wrong when you predict

      • fromheretoinfirmary

        Good points, but I’ll just point this out about the Kings. They’re essentially fighting with the Flames for that last spot. Look at their remaining schedules. Kings see Edmonton twice, Colorado, Van, Shorks, and the Flames. Flames see St Louis, Kings, Winnepeg, Edmonton and Arizona. And Kings have the game in hand. You look at those schedules and I’d be shocked if the Kings don’t make it.

    • Brandon Murray

      Couldn’t agree more. Play any team not headed to the playoffs and they look disinterested, bored, and just tired of being out there. Play the Kings, Rangers, Blues, Jets, Wild, etc……and they look angry, pissed off, and ready to take a head off. I’ll take that every time.

    • PuttingOnTheFoil77

      Absolutely agree. Bi-Polar all the way.

      • It’s almost like a collective Borderline Personality Disorder in some ways, too…the Hawks seem to take on/mirror the traits of their (competitive) partners on a nightly basis. They crap the bed against bed-crappers, yet rise to ranks of dragon-slayers against top-level competition. Group DBT could be in order.

    • meme gene okerlund

      Never imagined the day that this team would be described as the cunning vets you can’t count out. The Red Wing Prophecy has been fulfilled.

    • Jim

      These guys know how to pace themselves. Why take a puck to the nutz blocking a shot while playing Carolina in March?

  • Jim

    This game was most enjoyable to watch. It was obvious the Kings strategy was to physically beat up the Hawks. It was great to see the Hawks adjust by getting out of the way of the hits and dishing out some of their own (Toews hit on Dustin Brown , ringing his bell and leading to a goal)

    • MattC86

      I think the way the Hawks respond to people trying to “mash” them is my favorite thing about them. Whether it’s the Blues, Bruins, Kings, Ducks, whatever. They don’t flinch, they play big (meaning physically strong on the puck, not that they fight/hit/FAAAARTTT), and they take it as a challenge. It’s just awesome to watch.

      Look at the teams that have beaten them in the playoffs or come close. The Kings won because of center depth; the Wings played fast and got in the Hawks’ heads (not by hitting), and had some great games out of Jimmy Howard. The Canucks in 2011 just over-matched a thin Hawks squad, and 2012 was the Tale of Two Goalies Who Have Gone in Opposite Directions Since.

      I’m worried about teams that can skate with the Hawks and have better depth (or better coaching). I’m not worried about somebody trying to “atom smash” the Hawks, because time and again, the Hawks have laughed that shit off in the playoffs.

  • wardrums

    The vermette/Richards/Sharp line was indomitable. (Indomitable means real fucking good or something loke that)
    Vermette has had 3 solid games in a row. Points will come. He took a major hit from Doughty amd stayed on his feet stopping #8 advancing.

    If Teuvo would have scored on that breakaway. The United Center would have literally exploded. 8 shots on goal for hom alone, playing on the fourth line. (Of coirse this means Q will pit Carcillo in his plave on Thursday, trying to send teuvo a message not to get cocky.

    TroyMurray noted how Krugers line shut down Koitars the second half of yhe vame. Troy said it seems the bigger the responsibolity you give Freddy, the better he.plays.

    Swedes rule!

    I think Shaw has set tje NHL record for being knocked down/molested in front of the opponents net – “all 160#’s of him as Bickell noted in a postgame interview

  • Bannerman
  • YoAdrienne

    “… but much like Andrew Shaw, I don’t think there’s much to bruise up there.” Huh??? Are you saying that Saad doesn’t have much upstairs? If so, I beg to differ.

  • Brandon Murray

    Wow. What a difference 48 hours makes for us, eh? The most encouraging thing bout last night wasn’t necessarily the victory, but the intensity and the push they exhibited until the end. After an awful loss to Columbus, things were looking bleak. Now we recaptured 2 points we had in hand on STL and we are coming off 2 great wins against 2 very very good teams. What a difference a few days makes. This roller coaster is gonna give me a stroke.

    • SuperHawk27

      And its not even playoffs yet!

  • Hockey

    Would love some gifs of those Teuvo plays…

  • John the ex-Loyola Goalie

    I am watching the Blackhawks this year, and I can’t fathom how they won the Cup 2 years ago with essentially the same squad.
    Last night against the Kings, they reminded me of that Stanley Cup winning team of 2013.
    One thing that drives me nuts about the Hawks this year is: We go into a corner and the other team comes out with the puck. Last night we won most of the puck battles.
    The Kings tried to get physical with us, and we got physical back. Jon Toews , of all, people, is smashing a player’s face into the boards. Vermette and Desjardins are throwing their weight around. Shaw got mugged, but what else is new…
    Darling looked solid, but Michael Leighton could’ve been in net last night and still won.
    Hopefully this is a sign of how we’ll look if/when we make the play-offs. There’s still a lot of hockey left to play.

  • Harry Longwood

    Timmonen only played 10:46, but Roszival had 16:55. And somehow it didn’t totally burn them.

    This is why home ice matters.

  • Icdws

    Question: what happens if the two college kids don’t play in a regular season game this year? I thought they had to get into a game? I read Q this morning saying he doubts they will play. I’ll hang up and listen for my answer.
    Last night was great, felt like a should have smoked a cigarette after that beauty.
    Fear kings in playoffs due to size, speed and Quick.