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Blackhawks roll 5-2 over Kings in season-opener
LOS ANGELES — It was absolutely deafening in Staples Center as the Los Angeles Kings showed highlights from last season’s championship run, passed the Stanley Cup around the ice, and raised the team’s first championship banner to the rafters.
It got awfully quiet after that.
The Blackhawks ruined the Kings’ big day with a dominant 5-2 victory in the lockout-delayed season-opener on Saturday afternoon. And they wasted no time in doing it.
Patrick Kane scored the first goal of the NHL season at the 3:41 mark on a sharp-angle one-timer (off a Marian Hossa feed) on the Hawks’ first power play, triangulating a shot just inside the post, just below Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick’s glove, and just above his leg pad.
Hossa made it 2-0 at the 12:57 mark when his centering feed to Jonathan Toews — who started and played his usual minutes despite missing Friday’s skate with the flu –deflected off Kings defender Drew Doughty and past Quick. Seventy-four seconds later, Michael Frolik made it 3-0 on a one-timer from Marcus Kruger.
Considering some of the Hawks’ biggest concerns entering the shortened season were whether Kane could regain his scoring touch, whether the power play could get back on track, whether Hossa was healthy after his long concussion recovery, and whether they could get any scoring beyond the top two lines, it was a dream start for the Hawks.
Toews then made it 4-0 just 76 seconds into the second period when he cleaned up a rebound from a Kane breakaway attempt. Los Angeles finally got on the board on a Rob Scuderi goal — a shot from the point that Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford never saw thanks to expert screening from Kyle Clifford — with 1:23 left in the second period.
Los Angeles briefly injected some life into the sellout crowd on a Jordan Nolan goal midway through the third period — scored while Crawford was still prone on the ice after being bumped by teammate Sheldon Brookbank. But Hossa scored his second of the game 15 seconds later to make it 5-2.
Agitator Daniel Carcillo, skating on the top line with Toews and Hossa, left the game late in the third period after getting crunched along the boards. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the game that Carcillo “will miss some time,” and that he’ll know more on Sunday. Brandon Saad is “likely” to take his place on the roster (if not necessarily the top line). Carcillo missed the second half of last season after tearing his ACL.