Hawks Suffer First Home Playoff Loss, Drop Game 2 to Kings
To the Kings, Game 2 was an opportunity to rebound from their Game 1 loss and make a statement. By scoring 6 unanswered goals after going down 2-0 in the second period, that’s exactly what they did.
The Hawks started the game playing fast, sharp, and creating havoc around the net. All four lines were playing aggressively, taking the puck to the net and attacking. The first goal came during a power play from Nick Leddy, in a backhand over the left shoulder of Jonathan Quick.
Their fast paced play continued into the second period and Ben Smith scored on a pass from Johnny Oduya. If the game were to end at this point, it would have been clear that the Hawks were dominant and had the upper hand. However they still needed to play the final 22 minutes.
Everybody knows the reputation the Kings hold when held under the gun and it certainly showed last night. After a single goal scored by Justin Williams in the second period, they went on to score 5 goals in the third period by four different players. This was their third 6-goal game of these playoffs.
The question remains, what went wrong with the Hawks? The previously stellar play of Corey Crawford, especially at home, seemed a distant memory. The aggressiveness and thirst to score throughout the playoffs and in the first two periods, also seemed out of reach by the third period. They converted only one of five on the power play throughout the game, including a 5-on-3 in the first period. Many of the usual forces, including Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane, were non-factors and barely present. The ever-harsh Twitter world is suggesting that Patrick Sharp, the Hawks regular season leading scorer, be benched.
The most unsettling part, perhaps, was that the usual resilience and fight that the Hawks have become known for seemed like a thing of the past. Their play exuded complacency after going up 2-0 and the effort shown after the Kings started their scoring rally was poor at best.
So, what’s next? Will the Hawks rebound in Game 3 in Los Angeles and find their old form? Or will the hurt of Game 2 linger in their play and become what experts like to call a “pivotal” loss? Forward Patrick Sharp said after the game simply “I’m not happy.”
Game 3 will give the Hawks a chance to make a statement of their own and potentially seal their fate for the rest of the playoffs. Let’s hope the defending Stanley Cup champs show up at the Staples Center with a chip on their shoulder Saturday night and play like the first two periods Wednesday, not the third.