The Blackhawks jumped out to a four-goal lead and held on for a 4-2 victory over the Kings in Game Two of the Western Conference final
The bad news for the LA Kings began in warmup, when Mike Richards, hit by Dave Bolland late in Game 1 but pronounced "fine" by Darryl Sutter just hours before Game 2, felt less than fine during the pregame skate. In the end, he wasn't ready to go after all.
Neither was the rest of his team, as it turned out.
The result: by the time the Kings woke up, they were trailing by four, and Jonathan Quick was on the bench. The Chicago Blackhawks put the "LA Kings" in "shellacking" Sunday night, administering a humbling beatdown of the defending Cup champs in a 4-2 Game 2 victory that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.
Chicago got on the board less than two minutes in, as the Blackhawks forced a turnover and worked the puck to the stick of Viktor Stalberg. A nifty backhand feed later, Andrew Shaw found himself alone in front of Jonathan Quick, and he made sure Stalberg got the assist a slick pass like that deserved. 1-0 Chicago.
Things got worse for the Kings when Brent Seabrook doubled the lead inside the final minute of the first, sending LA to the dressing room down two.
Midway through the second period, the Blackhawks had doubled it again.
Bryan Bickell's sixth of the season, on a powerplay, made it 3-0, and just two minutes later, Michael Handzus did something that hasn't been done in over three years: he chased Jonathan Quick from a playoff game:
With Handzus' 4-0 goal, Quick got the hook for the first time in the postseason since April 23, 2010 versus the Vancouver Canucks, and Jonathan Bernier made an unexpected postseason appearance -- just five days after our esteemed editor named Quick not just the king of Kings, but the best player in the entire playoffs.
Granted, When the Blackhawks get like this, they can make some very good goalies look ordinary. Even watching at home, Roberto Luongo was unnerved:
Now, before you start thinking that Jonathan Bernier, who stopped 9 of 9 shots in relief, might get a Game 3 start out of this, you should know that Darryl Sutter explained his decision to give Quick the hook as part of a longer-term approach.
"I think we play five games in the next 10 days," he said.
That's a best-case scenario, of course. It'll be far fewer than five if the Kings can't find a way to turn this series around in a hurry. They need to win four of the next five, and the way this series has gone thus far, that seems like a tall task.
But LA does have a few things going for them. For one thing, they've been in this situation before. They dropped the first two games of the St. Louis series before finding their bearings and rattling off four straight wins.
Furthermore, the trip home for Game 3 means a much-needed escape from the road, where the Kings are the anti-Kerouacs, losing themselves the moment they set out. They're 1-7 away from home in these playoffs, so they'll no doubt welcome a return to the Staples Center, where they're 7-0.
For their sake, they'd best hope that they continue to look good in black.