Kings strike out, now head home
CHICAGO -- Before the evening was over for the Los Angeles Kings, they would lose one player to injury, one to performance and end up halfway to being eliminated from the postseason.
It was that kind of night, as the Kings fell to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. The Hawks have a 2-0 series lead with Game 3 in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
"You know what, we gave them some wide-open opportunities that they scored on," coach Darryl Sutter said afterward.
Right before faceoff, Sutter found out star forward Mike Richards couldn't play. Richards skated during warmups but wasn't feeling up to it after absorbing a high hit late in Game 1 on Saturday.
"He was fine today, then I think just once his blood got pumping tonight, the adrenaline got going, there were symptoms," Sutter said.
That was strike one. Strike two came when Hawks forward Andrew Shaw accepted a nifty pass from Viktor Stalberg and hammered a puck past goalie Jonathan Quick just 1:56 into the game. It wouldn't be the last time Quick would be digging the puck out of his net.
"Obviously, tonight was a little out of our reach, giving up four goals," Quick said. "But if you look back at five, six losses before that they're all 2-1 games so we just haven't been finding a way."
Late in the period, Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook found a way past Quick without traffic or commotion -- just like Shaw's goal -- and all of a sudden the all-world goaltender looked human. Quick would give up two more in the second period and before the game was half-done his night would shockingly be over. Strike three. Backup Jonathan Bernier took over.
"I'm 1-7 on the road. ... I haven't done my job on the road," Quick said.
No one on the Kings has, and now their only chance is to regain their hopes at home, where they've been perfect this postseason. With Richards' health in doubt and Quick's confidence potentially shaken, the Kings have a tall task against the President's Trophy winners.
"It doesn't matter what took place, it's all about Game 3," Quick said. "Today, yesterday, it's all about Tuesday. We're trying to prepare to win a game on Tuesday and go from there."
There were moments in which the Kings played well and maybe they'll build off their late power-play goal, which was only the second the Hawks have given up in 46 tries this postseason. And Los Angeles actually played alright in the first period but trailed 2-0 at the end of it. Still, for all practical purposes, the Kings just got their lunch handed to them over the course of the first two games.
"All I know is we're going home, we need to do our job at home," Quick said.
It would be a good idea, because they haven't done it on the road yet.