Previewing the Los Angeles Kings’ 2012-13 season: West Final, Game 2 @ Chicago; June 2/13, 5pm PST (8pm EST)
They were on the short-end of officiating for much of Game 1, including a very questionable hit on Mike Richards courtesy of David Bolland late in the game. As unfair as the officiating may have been, the Los Angeles Kings may be the first to admit that the shoddy refereeing was not why they lost – and they must right the ship this evening as they square off against the Chicago Blackhawks for Game 2 in hopes of avoiding going back to Staples Center down two games.
Following yesterday’s Game 1 loss, it was announced that Bolland would not receive any discipline from the NHL for his aforementioned hit on Richards that saw the former London Knight leave his feet to deliver an upper-arm hit to the head of Richards. While there has not been any news on Richards’s stats – and I’m assuming no news is good news – the Kings must not dwell on the past. In fact, with the NHL’s decision not to have a hearing with Bolland, Sunday evening will mark a perfect opportunity for the entire Kings team to get angry and use that animosity to their advantage.
Quite simply, Los Angeles just did not put forth the effort expected for a roster as stacked as theirs. Never mind that they are up against the West-leading Blackhawks at a very hostile United Center but this is the Western Final so, to be perfectly honest, the offensive woes of the Kings should have been addressed by now.
While Jarret Stoll did return to the lineup to give the Kings an edge in the faceoff department and Justin Williams did score to extend his recent hot streak, most of the team just did not seem to have any urgency. While Jonathan Quick was great stopping 34 of 36 shots (including 17 in the opening frame), he could not do everything on his own.
Kopitar, Brown, Carter and the aforementioned Richards have all been duds thus far in these playoffs despite a flash of success here and there. Los Angeles’s third line played well last night but up front, that seemed to be all the silver-and-black could boast about.
Nevertheless, this evening’s task is simple: win at the Madhouse and turn around that woeful 1-7 playoff road record. That is easier said than done obviously but I believe, in addition to much of the Kings’ fanbase, believes their team can turn it around. After all, the Kings did not get this far by mere fluke.
With all that said, there is not much else to say or do expect to drop the puck on Game 2 and hope for the best.
Will the Kings turn this series into a best-of-five or will they return home having the unenviable task of fighting an uphill battle? We’ll see tonight.
Enjoy the game!