The picture above shows two of the most respected players in the National Hockey League after a hard fought series, and final game 5 that ended the Los Angeles Kings season by the hands of Patrick Kane (left), also ending the possibility of a repeat Stanley Cup Champion for the first time since Scotty Bowman lead the Detroit Red Wings to back-to-back wins in ’97 and ’98. The Chicago Blackhawks took the best of 7 series in just 5 games, but the Kings did put up a strong fight throughout the series.
Blackhawks took an early 2-0 lead in the first with the first goal being a soft shot from the blue line that somehow found it’s way through Jonathan Quick’s five hole.
Dwight King was able to cut the lead down in the second with a rebound goal of his own, his second of the playoffs. Anze Kopitar (above right) tied was only the beginning of the drama of the game.
With just under four minutes left in the game, Patrick Kane found the back of the net, and the Kings season looked to be over already.
However, with 9 seconds left in regulation, a slapshot from Kopitar deflected off the stick of Mike Richards to tie the game, and take the game into it’s first overtime period.
It took more than just one extra period of play the Blackhawks to finish off the Kings. The Kings 11 shots over the overtime period were all good opportunities, but Corey Crawford proved his worth as a post-season goaltender once again, stopping all with impressive, confident saves, and improved his save percentage to .934 over the playoffs.
9:20 into the second overtime, the Kings season came to sudden stop. A offensive zone turnover lead to a 2 on 1 with the Blackhawks two best offensive players, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane. Toews was able to lead the two man rush and slip a pass under the defenders stick to Patrick Kane who slapped one home that I doubt any goalie could have defended, giving Kane a hat trick on the night.
The always so entertaining Kings coach, Darryl Sutter, on the goal, “That’s the typical overtime, lots of opportunities both ways, probably their two best offensive guys made a great play, scored a goal.”
The Kings fell to the 1-seeded Blackhawks in 5 games, and the Blackhawks will now head to the NHL Stanley Cup Finals to face the Boston Bruins in an original six matchup.
“We got beat in the conference final by the best team in the conference, you set goals and we didn’t meet those,” said Sutter of the Kings season.
Many of the Kings players had quotes similar to “we wanted to play longer” and “they just played better than we did” and the sad truth is it’s true. The Blackhawks were the better team and played better overall hockey than the Kings, and that’s why they’re going to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Kings regular season ended with 59 points over the 48 game shortseason. Some faces may disappear over the course of the post-season, such as Jonathan Bernier, Rob Scuderi, and Dustin “Pancakes” Penner.
For updates on the Los Angeles Kings off-season, and NHL Stanley Cup Finals, follow me on Twitter (@taylorblakeward), and don’t forget to follow ValleyBayNews.com as well (@ValleyBayNews).