Quenneville not forgetting G2 loss easily

May, 22, 2014
May 22
4:31
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville usually finds a loss easier to take the morning after.

That wasn't the case when he awoke Thursday morning after the Blackhawks had been beaten 6-2 by the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.

"I left the game; I woke up this morning way more angry than I exited the game," Quenneville said on Thursday afternoon. "Normally it's the other way around."

[+] EnlargeBlackhawks
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhJoel Quenneville's anger from the Hawks' Game 2 loss only grew a day later.
Quenneville's anger increased on this particular morning because what happened Wednesday night had a chance to sink in. The Blackhawks had Game 2 in their control for 38-plus minutes, then lost it. And it wasn't as if the game all of a sudden slipped out of their grasp. It was more like the Blackhawks tossed it to the Kings, and the Kings took it and skated away with it.

Quenneville's frustration with his team in Game 2 began with how the Kings scored their first goal with less than two minutes remaining in the second period. Lack of support from the Blackhawks' forwards in their defensive zone led to the Kings gaining possession of the puck and ultimately Justin Williams scoring from in front of the net. Instead of leading 2-0 after two periods, the Blackhawks had a one-goal lead going into the intermission.

The third period started on a rough note for the Blackhawks. Brandon Bollig was called for interference at 1:14, and the Kings scored their first power-play goal of the series 23 seconds later. A little over a minute later, the Kings were back on the power play due to the Blackhawks having too many men on the ice, and the Kings produced another power-play goal.

Trailing but still within a goal, the Blackhawks didn't do much to prevent the Kings from taking a two-goal lead. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford had blocked a shot, and the puck flew high into the air behind him. It looked as if it might land in the netting, but it dropped straight down. Blackhawks defensemen Nick Leddy and Michal Rozsival appeared to quit on the play, and Kings forward Tanner Pearson took advantage of that. He retrieved the puck, connected with Tyler Toffoli in front of the net, and Toffoli scored.

Add all of that up, and Quenneville had his reasons for being upset in the morning.

"The little details, the way we gave them the goals," Quenneville said. "I thought we gave them, particularly the first four goals, the penalties, the two goals, one and four. We got to be more diligent in those areas. They've got to work for their goals. They came rather easily. Against a team that has some skill and playmaking ability, we have to work harder in those areas."

Quenneville hopes his players felt the same way about the game as he did. He wants to see a response come Game 3 on Saturday.

"I think there's got to be a reaction in where we shouldn't be happy about it," Quenneville said. "That's what we're looking for. I think that's how you get past it -- doing something about it and not just being satisfied. Hey, we got beat, but we shouldn't be happy about how we got beat and getting beat at the same time. I think there's anger involved. That's not a bad thing to have."

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith tried to balance the positives and negatives of Game 2.

"I don't think we're happy with the way it ended and unfolded," Keith said on Thursday. "But looking back, there are a lot of good things we did. We have to learn from it, like we try to do for every game, whether it's a win or loss, and understand what went wrong. Today's a new day; move on from that one.

"You want to understand what went wrong and what we did that allowed what happened to happen. At the same time we need to push forward here, stay positive and know it's a new day. Game 3 is a new game."

Blackhawks forward Ben Smith believes the Hawks already understand what went wrong in the loss.

"We got away from our game, took some penalties and they have a great power play," Smith said. "We took some chances to get back into the game. It happened quickly. Obviously we weren't happy about it. We just need to show a bit more passion there and competitiveness in the last 20 minutes, like we had in the first 40. We know we can be better, and we're going to work on that and make sure we have that on Saturday."
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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