LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Patrick Kane once again was bailed out by a favourable video review. Only this time, there wasn’t nearly as much at stake.
Kane, who scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal for Chicago in overtime last season after a lengthy video review, had to wait through another review before his fifth goal of this season was upheld. The insurance marker, along with Patrick Sharp’s fifth goal in six games, helped the Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on Saturday night.
Tomas Kopecky made a blind backhanded pass toward the crease from the right corner, and the puck glanced off the oncoming Kane before caroming off the right post and across the goal-line. The ruling was that Kane didn’t intentionally knock it in with his hand.
“I was fortunate that they did call it a goal,” Kane said. “I was pretty confident, but I don’t think the coaches were as confident as I was. The coaches were saying it was kind of 50-50, but I pretty much knew it was going to be a goal, because I didn’t really do anything (against the rules).
“I just kind of skated into the puck and it hit me in went in. So there was nothing I could have done for them to call it back. It wasn’t one of my prettiest goals, but I’ll take it, obviously. I’ve got to start going to the net more often. I think with my skill and talent close in, I think I can make some plays.”
Corey Crawford started consecutive games for the second time this season and made 21 saves, after stopping 26 shots Friday in a 5-2 victory in Anaheim. He lost his shutout bid with 5:02 remaining when Anze Kopitar beat him high to the glove side with a screened 45-foot slapshot in the slot during a 5-on-3 power play.
“We had a good last six or seven minutes, but it’s certainly not enough to win a hockey game especially against a very good opponent,” defenceman Rob Scuderi said after the Kings lost for the sixth time in seven games after a six-game winning streak.
“It’s frustrating to us because we’re just so close. We haven’t been blown out of games, so if we stick with it, don’t panic, and stick together I think we’ll be a better team because of it.”
This was the 25th time Chicago has played back-to-back road games against Kings and Ducks, and only the third time the Blackhawks have won both. It also happened March 9-11, 1994 and Feb. 4-6, 1996. They completed their annual “circus trip” 4-2-0.
“It was pretty good for us to get eight points out of it,” Kane said. “With a trip this long, sometimes it’s tough to keep going strong and stay upbeat like we were the last couple of games. We’re excited to go back home and play in front of our fans, but overall we’ve got to be happy with this trip.”
The Blackhawks capitalized on a fortuitous break to score their first goal. Los Angeles defenceman Jack Johnson attempted a one-timer from the high slot after one of his teammates’ shots was blocked in front of the net, but Johnson fanned on the puck and the Blackhawks took off on a 2-on-1 rush against Drew Doughty as Johnson was caught up ice.
Kane held the puck as long as he could after drawing Doughty toward him, then slipped the puck to Sharp, who had a wide-open net to shoot at and easily one-timed it past Jonathan Quick’s glove at 10:36 of the second period.
“It’s a good play to get it into his hands these days, because he’s on fire,” Kane said.
Sharp has 15 goals in his first 25 games. Last season, he didn’t get his 15th goal until his 45th game and finished with 25.
“I like to think I’ve been a consistent goal scorer for the last few years, and now I’m getting opportunities,” said Sharp, who had a career-high 36 in 2007-08. “I’ve had confidence all season long—and even when I haven’t scored, I’ve still felt good out there, so I knew the goals were going to come. I don’t think anyone scored in every game, but I’m going to try.”
NOTES: Los Angeles has killed all 38 short-handed situations at Staples Center, and is the only team that hasn’t allowed a power-play goal at home this season. Sharp hit the right post with a 25-foot wrist shot from the slot while Michal Handzus was off serving an interference penalty early in the second period. … Kings C Jarret Stoll won 11 of 12 faceoffs, after coming in with an impressive 56.5 percentage. … Chicago is 5-2-0 in the second game of back-to-back sets. Last season, the Blackhawks were 15-1-3.