Game 1 (0-1-0)
LOS ANGELES - It was what Kings fans have been waiting for since June. This afternoon, the time finally came to see the Los Angeles Kings have their long-awaited Stanley Cup banner raised to the rafters in addition to each player receiving their Stanley Cup rings. It certainly was a special way to kick off the day. Unfortunately, that was the only highlight for the Kings on this day.
Right from the get-go, the Kings showed a lack of discipline that resulted in an early 5-on-3 man-advantage for the visiting Blackhawks and Patrick Kane made the home team pay by putting Chicago on the board first. The Hawks scored twice more in the frame and entered the first intermission with a 3-0 lead.
After making it 4-0 in the second, the Kings finally got on the board as stay-at-home defenseman Rob Scuderi scored to equal his goal total from all of last season.
It appeared as if the Kings had some momentum after cutting the deficit to two halfway through the third but just seconds later, Chicago's Marian Hossa scored his second of the game to regain the three-goal lead and take the wind right out of the Staples Center.
It was certainly a lackluster effort for the home team but in Los Angeles' defense, in the last 17 years, defending champions playing in games where they raise their banner have only won once. That's not to completely excuse the Kings on their performance this afternoon but just a little food for thought.
It's also worth noting that Darryl Sutter is the only active coach to have been a bench boss during the last 48-game season in 1994-95. Sutter had a slow start to that season coaching the Blackhawks and they wound up going all the way to the Western Conference Final that year. Just a little food for thought.
Reigning Conn Smythe Jonathan Quick didn't look like himself today stopping just 17 of 22 shots but then again, no one would be playing in their first real game coming off back surgery. Kyle Clifford picked up assists on both goals but it was an overall lethargic effort by the Stanley Cup champions. By the looks of things today, they certainly missed defenseman Willie Mitchell and center Anze Kopitar with the latter hoping to be back in the lineup later this week.
So, while the Kings got off on the wrong foot, it's only one game and they hope to turn the tide in time for their next game which will be on Tuesday night when the champs travel to Denver's Pepsi Center to take on the Colorado Avalanche.
Photo: Courtesy of Jae C. Hong/AP Photo