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Blackhawks “angry” after Game 2 loss, but eager to redeem themselves in Los Angeles
Joel Quenneville slept on the Blackhawks’ 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night.
It didn’t help.
“I woke up this morning way more angry than I exited the game,” Quenneville said. “Normally, it’s the other way around.”
The loss, in which the Hawks squandered a 2-0 lead and gave up five third-period goals — becoming just the second team in Stanley Cup playoffs history to lose a game by four or more goals after leading through two periods — was jarring for a team that was playing arguably its best hockey for the first five periods of the Western Conference final.
But it wasn’t the end of the world, either.
“The sun rose this morning,” Ben Smith said. “Obviously, we’re not happy with what happened the last 22 minutes or so, but that stuff happens and it’s up to us to learn from it, move forward from it, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
On a more positive note, the Hawks are expecting Andrew Shaw to play for Game 3 on Saturday in Los Angeles. He hasn’t played since he suffered an apparent leg injury in Game 1 against the Minnesota Wild last series. Quenneville didn’t tip his hand on whom Shaw would replace in the lineup — Peter Regin, Brandon Bollig and Kris Versteeg are the likeliest candidates to be bumped.
“We’ve missed his presence in the lineup,” Duncan Keith said. “He’s a good guy to have on the team, be it on the ice providing that energy, or in the locker room. We look forward to having him back. He’s a versatile player when it comes to what he provides on the ice, be it in front of the net, going to the hard areas, playing different positions. He’s a big part of our team.”
The victory gave the Kings home-ice advantage in the series, so the Hawks will have to win a game at Staples Center at some point in order to advance to their second straight Stanley Cup Final. The good news for the Hawks? They’ve won three of their last four games at the Staples Center, including one of the two games during last year’s conference final.
“Over the years, we’ve enjoyed going out there,” Keith said. “At the same time, it’s a tough place to play and we have to be good. They have the crowd behind them, like any home team would. But over the years, we’ve taken that on and embraced that challenge.”
As for any momentum swings in the series, neither team seems terribly concerned. As the last two Stanley Cup champions, both teams are battle-tested and resilient.
“We don’t fight with confidence,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter told reporters on Thursday. “I’ve never seen it once. You were probably questioning how we played in Game 1. I thought we played a better game in Game 1 than we did in Game 2. We didn’t leave the game not being confident. If every game you lost, you lost your confidence, then you guys don’t have to cover hockey in April, May and June.”