It was a night of firsts for the Los Angeles Kings and Jonathan Quick, but the type of night the Kings would like to forget as the Blackhawks cruised to a 4-2 victory and now lead the best of seven series 2-0.
The Kings had gone an NHL-record 34 consecutive playoff games without surrendering more than three goals in a game, but midway through the second period the Blackhawks built a 4-0 lead. The four goals surrendered by Quick was the most he had given up in a playoff game since a 4-3 loss to the Sharks in 2011. Ironically, the last time Quick gave up four goals in a game was to the Blackhawks back in March.
“We didn’t have it tonight,” Matt Greene told ‘Kings Live’ following the game. “We didn’t play our game. Everyone in this room needs to be better.”
“We had a better start than we did last game but it wasn’t enough,” said Dustin Penner. “They are an opportunistic team that scored key goals at key times that put us in a tough spot and we weren’t able to recover.”
Before the game started the Kings got some bad news when Mike Richards, who was on the wrong end of a punishing hit by the Blackhawks Dave Bolland at the end of the Game 1 loss, was scratched from the lineup following the pregame skate.
Richards, the team leader in points, is likely dealing with concussion related issues.
“I told Mike before the game, ‘if you’re not 100 percent you’re not playing,’” said Darryl Sutter. “It’s a big hole losing a player like Mike, but I thought we handled his loss quite well.”
“He is our leading point getter. He is a veteran presence that kills penalties and plays the power play. We had to step up and weren’t good enough,” added Penner.
With Richards out of the lineup, Tyler Toffoli joined Jeff Carter and Dustin Penner on what was the Kings’ best line of the night. The trio scored both Kings goals and added a pair of assists.
Toffoli’s power play goal was the lone bright spot on the night as it was the first power-play goal the Blackhawks had given up in 27 chances at home.
The loss dropped the Kings to 1-7 on the road with series now shifting to Staples Center for games 3 and 4 (Tuesday and Thursday). The Kings look to even the series in a building they have won 14 straight games dating back to the regular season and seven straight in the playoffs.
“It’s going to be a hostile environment (in L.A.),” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenville. “We need to be proactive with our game.”
“We feel confident at home where we have won 14 in a row,” said Penner. “We started the St. Louis series the same way. We know we have a lot of work ahead of us.”