As the Chicago Blackhawks played their 10th straight game without Jonathan Toews due to his concussion, it took them a bit, but they've turned it on the last few games, winning four out of their last five. The Los Angeles Kings, however, came into Chicago and took a 3-2 win in the shootout.
Off the opening faceoff, Dwight King got a bad bounce of the puck and headed toward the goal on a breakaway until Ray Emery made the save. The King scoring chance led to an exchange of close calls for both teams. As the Kings got caught in a scramble, Jonathan Quick flopped in the crease until finally one of his teammates cleared the puck. It was there when Chicago got caught on a 4-on-1 and Justin Williams passed to Slava Voynov for the early goal by the 1:17 mark.
L.A. held the Blackhawks' top line without many chances throughout the game, sticking to their defensive strength. However, one breakdown led the way to a loose puck in front of Quick, and with Quick pushed to the back of the net, Drew Doughty went into the net himself and blocked one shot with his own glove, but Marcus Kruger followed up with a goal on the rebound. Quick may be 1-4-1 in his last six decisions in the United Center prior to Sunday, but his performance otherwise against the Blackhawks has been strong -- with Kruger's goal, Quick's shutout streak against Chicago ended at 174:29.
By midway through the second period, while it seemed like the Kings were going to commit to an offensive style tonight after sequences of solid puck movement and everyone driving the net hard, L.A. sat back and became extra-protective of their end. With 2:35 left in the middle frame, though, the Kings turned back on their offense as Jeff Carter was able to get in the slot to regain the lead for L.A and score his 200th career goal.
A penalty shot was awarded to Viktor Stalberg in the third period after Doughty tripped him before he looked like he'd have Quick beat on a breakaway. Stalberg was stonewalled on the attempt, but not too much longer, Patrick Kane crowded the net and knotted the score again.
Tied at 2-2 past overtime, the game would be decided by a shootout that went five rounds until Mike Richards ended the stalemate for L.A.'s 3-2 win. Emery is now 10-0-2 at home after the loss.
With the win and if the Calgary Flames lost, the Kings would have taken the eighth spot. Unfortunately for them, Calgary won, 4-3, against the Minnesota Wild, but it certainly helps them in the long run, as they are still tied in points with the Flames with 76 as the ninth seed.