Black Friday was good to the Blackhawks. It took Chicago just 1:14 to dismantle the Anaheim Ducks Friday afternoon. That’s the span of time between their two goals, scored late in the going to tie the game at two apiece and send it to OT, which the Blackhawks won.
LA must have been watching, because they came back from a similar 0-2 score, putting in two goals in the third period and forcing OT. The initial moments of the extra frame were conservative, but then the Kings’ Carter, who had scored earlier to give himself a record of 20 points in the last 15 games, took a slick shot from the left side and saw it go off Scott Darling’s shoulder. He had also hit a crossbar in period two, by the way.
The Blackhawks then went down on Quick in the LA net and Hossa put a dangerous floater to the net which hung and forced Quick to do a flopping dive to try to swat it away. It bounced off to the side of the net on its own. But the Kings were not done. Kopitar made his second laser-eye spot of the night to feed Marian Gaborik on a breakaway.
Second? He had set up the second goal of the game with about six minutes left in the third period to tie it. That one saw him steal a puck that Brent Seabrook overskated. Kopitar took the puck to the net, seemed to wait too long in his (usual) reluctance to shoot, but had it work out as he fed the puck backhand to the slot. Gaborik had seen the turnover while skating at the blueline and jumped into the play. He got the Kopitar pass, did a little deke, and shot it under the goalie’s legs.
But back to that breakaway. Gaborik got the puck just as he reached the blueline, crossed it, and shot to the far side, his left. The puck sailed into the corner of the net, and, of course, Staples Center exploded. Heck, I was watching on TV and I could feel it.
It was the 4th goal for Gaborik in the last seven games and his fifth overall this year.
It was almost not to be. With three seconds left in the game, Jonathan Toews had broken in on Quick and had him dead to rights. He shot, to the right of the goalie, but was wide. It would have ended things with no possibility for a comeback on LA’s part.
And speaking of breakaways, Andrew Shaw had one midway in the second period but was stopped by Quick. Nonstop action is not a hallmark of the LA team, but on this night, they featured some barn burning hockey.
For Chicago’s part, they played a strong game, but the third period was run-and-gun, with, for example, no whistle in the last three minutes. During that span, Lucic almost ended it with a feed to Carter in front of the net. The puck somehow went under the goalie’s legs.
Was Chicago tired? Maybe, but the usual guys logged the usual big minutes. Duncan Keith had more than 25. Kane had 21, though Toews just 18. He certainly didn’t look tired breaking in on net with scant seconds to go, however.
If you’re following the news, you know that Patrick Kane has been on a streak of points scoring that stretched, just by the skin of his teeth, to 18 games on Friday. That because the scoring by the Chicago squad came so late. Anyway, with a goal and an assist, he now moves ahead of his two fellow Americans Kessel and Olczyk into sole position of the lead with points in 18 games. But the Chicago team record is also out ahead of him. Bobby Hull holds that one, at 21 games.
Kane gets his chance to carry it on at 7pm local time Tuesday when the Wild are in town. The Kings, meanwhile, can celebrate a great win until Tuesday, when they will host Vancouver. They outshot the Blackhawks 36-22, had far more shot attempts that didn’t get through at 32-18, and won the faceoff battle as well. Put it this way: had they lost, it would have been a big disappointment and a statistical anomaly both.
The three stars were Gaborik, Kane, and Carter.
Quick now goes to 11-7-1 for the year.
Chicago scored one goal on one power play, and the Kings none, though they had the extra man one time.
If I had the choice, I’d rather you read my books and sent me messages than just following me @growinguphockey on twitter. But you’re in control.