The Chicago Blackhawks opened the rematch of theirWestern Conference final series with the Los Angeles Kings the same way they did last year, with a win on home ice. The Hawks and their fans can only hope that the rest of the series takes the same form that saw them eliminate the Kings in 5 game en route to a Stanley Cup win.
They got a couple of fortunate bounces along the way, but the Blackhawks took full advantage of them in downing what is now one of their bigger rivals 3-1.
The Kings’ future was on display as they tied it up, with Tanner Pearson driving wide and Tyler Toffoli driving the net, Pearson’s pass was deflected to the top shelf past Corey Crawford, less than 5 minutes into the second. That came right after a potentially momentum-changing call where an apparent Chicago goal was waved off in somewhat controversial fashion, with incidental contact on the goalie being the reason. In the span of a couple of minutes what could have been a 2-0 Chicago lead was dead even at a goal apiece.
Duncan Keith restored the lead later in the period, with a wild bounce after his point shot hit the stick of Trevor Lewis who tried to block the shot. The puck deflected down and bounced off the ice directly into the top corner. [related-playoffs]
The Hawks locked down defensively in the third period, protecting the 1 goal lead and allowing just 4 shots on goal. They got the much needed insurance marker with just under 4 minutes left. After Jake Muzzin tried unsuccessfully to keep the puck in at the blue line, the Hawks went in 3 on 1, and a nice pass from Johnny Oduya right in the wheelhouse of Jonathan Toews was in the back of the net before Quick could react.
That was more than enough for the Hawks as they take game 1.
The blessing for the Kings is after playing 2 straight 7 games series without much break in between, they get a couple of days off, with game 2 not going until Wednesday night in Chicago.