- Scott Powers, Reporter
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That man was Bryan Bickell.
Once thought to be a role player during the regular season, Bickell has transformed himself into a playoff superstar and that continued in the Blackhawks' 3-1 loss to the Kings at Staples Center.
Bickell scored the team's lone goal, upping his playoff total to seven, and he would have tied the game late in the third period if it were not for an extraordinary save by Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. The Blackhawks had 20 shots on goal, and Bickell accounted for four of them.
"[Bickell's] been good game-in, game-out," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the loss. "You notice him. He's at the net. You see some bodies moving around, seems like he has the puck."
Bickell even had his minutes reduced in the first two periods, which he said was due to the game's circumstances of multiple Blackhawks' penalties and defensive draws. He played 3:04 in the first period and 3:06 in the second period. He finished with 11:35 of ice time.
"I just think [I didn't play] because of the penalties we took," Bickell said. "I don't penalty kill. Defensive draws, I don't get out there."
Despite seeing less ice time, Bickell made the most of it. In the final minute of the second period, Bickell took the puck from behind the Kings' net, swung himself a few feet around the net and scored with 35.6 seconds remaining in the period. The goal cut the Kings' lead to 2-1 and gave the Blackhawks some hope heading into the second intermission.
"Sitting on the bench that long, sparking the team at the end of the second was a huge lift for me and got me into the game definitely," Bickell said.
Bickell nearly capitalized again late in the third period, but all he could do was credit Quick with a big-time save. Bickell got possession of a loose puck in front of the net and appeared as if he had an open upper left side to score on a seated Quick, but Quick flung his stick up at the last second and deflected the puck.
"I felt like we had some good momentum going into the third, but he made a big save with about two minutes left against me, too," Bickell said. "I knew I had an open net, but it seems like he makes a handful of those saves in every series. Give it to him -- he didn't give up. If we had got that, I don't know, we could have maybe carried it to OT and you never know what happens there."
LOS ANGELES -- Even as the Los Angeles Kings were bottling up the Chicago Blackhawks' offense in Game 3 on Tuesday, there was still one man who was finding ways to create scoring chances.