Blackhawks spoil Kings' party with 5-2 victory
LOS ANGELES — The Chicago Blackhawks raised their own Stanley Cup championship banner just two seasons ago, so their core players already know it's tough to go back to work after a pregame party.
When the Los Angeles Kings were finished raising their banner and receiving their rings Saturday, the Blackhawks reminded the champs that what happened last year won't help the Kings in this shortened NHL season.
Marian Hossa had two goals and an assist, Corey Crawford made 19 saves, and Chicago crashed the Kings' Stanley Cup celebration with a 5-2 victory.
Captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who jumped to a 3-0 lead on Michael Frolik's goal less than 15 minutes in.
With superior speed and skill, Chicago ruined the festivities shortly after the Kings hung their first championship banner in the Staples Center rafters.
“We wanted to have a good start, and whether they were going to be on their game or not didn't really matter to us,” said Toews, the Conn Smythe Trophy-winning hero of Chicago's 2010 title run.
“We tried not to focus on what was going on out there before the game. We were in (the locker room), just getting ready and doing our thing. We had a great first period, and when you come out in the first 20 minutes like that, you want to keep it going, and that's what we did.”
With every player who touched the ice in last season's playoffs returning to defend the title, the Kings received their championship rings during a stirring pregame ceremony that included each player passing the Cup around the boards. The Blackhawks didn't watch it, but they seemed fired up from the opening faceoff.
“The season after you win the Cup, everyone is going to play their best game against the Cup champion, because that's the game where you want to prove yourselves and make a statement,” said Kane, whose 5-on-3 goal started the rout. “So I think that's what we were kind of feeling today.”
Rob Scuderi and Jordan Nolan scored and Jonathan Quick stopped 17 shots for the Kings, who are definitely done celebrating last season's achievements as the first eighth-seeded playoff team to win the Stanley Cup.
Quick gave up five goals just once last season while making his first All-Star team, but he wasn't much better than his teammates in his first game since winning the Conn Smythe Trophy and getting a 10-year, $58 million contract extension.
“You have to get used to getting knocked down and getting back up,” Quick said. “As the ceremony was going on, most of our guys were thinking about the game, but obviously you're going to take a moment, and it's a special moment for the team and fans.”
While the Kings learned they've got work to do, the Blackhawks showed why they've got a shot at repeating their 2010 championship run. Kane seemed particularly sharp after spending the lockout playing in Switzerland.
Hossa was the Blackhawks' leading scorer last season, but he left his final game on a stretcher after a hit by Phoenix's Raffi Torres, who got a 25-game suspension.
“I haven't played in a long time because of the concussion, so I tried to keep it simple, especially at the beginning,” Hossa said. “Nothing too fancy. They gave me short shifts and I tried to get into it. Obviously my timing is not there yet, but it's going to come with the more games we play.”
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