Blackhawks finish trip with 2-1 win over Kings
Blackhawks left winger Andrew Brunette (center back) celebrates after scoring in the first period. (Christopher Hanewinckel/US PRESSWIRE photo)
The goaltender pulled off arguably his strongest effort during a six-game, 13-day road trip as the Hawks skated to a 2-1 victory over the Kings on Saturday night at the Staples Center. Crawford made 26 saves and Andrew Brunette and Jonathan Toews scored to give the Hawks their second consecutive victory and finish the trip with a 3-3-0 record.
“I felt pretty good,” Crawford said after upping his record to 11-6-2 on the season. “I haven’t been getting the results I wanted. I feel like I need to give a little bit more.
“That was another good game from us. We played well. Guys were coming back and breaking up plays. It was just overall a good game.”
Crawford was starting back-to-back games for the first time this season and came out focused and positionally sound throughout against the Kings.
“I just felt like I’ve been giving up a lot of goals,” Crawford said. “Maybe I was just letting it get to me. The team’s been playing well the last three games. We’re giving up fewer chances so that’s definitely a factor.”
Toews continued his stellar play of late by recording his fourth game-winning goal of the season when he pounced on a puck that ricocheted off the end boards and landed at his feet where the captain calmly flipped it into the Kings net for his team-leading 13th goal of the season.
“It was in some ways our best game of the trip,” Toews said. “We knew it was going to be a tight one and we did what we had to do to win. We were smart (and) we didn’t give up too many chances against. All around, we played a good game. It’s fun to win those tight ones, especially at the end of this road trip.”
The Hawks rebounded from losing three games in a row—including blowout defeats in Calgary and Edmonton—to come out of the trip with six points out of a possible 12.
“We didn’t start out this trip the way we wanted to, but we definitely finished a lot better,” Toews said. “We learned a lot. We’re excited to go home now.”
Brunette put the Hawks in front early in the first period when the veteran scored on a wraparound to beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. Teammate Dave Bolland was sprawled in the crease while Brunette scored after the center was shoved into the goal by the Kings’ Anze Kopitar.
After Jarret Stoll tied it at 1-1 in the second, Toews scored to again push the Hawks in front. From then on it was Crawford and a solid defensive effort that put the Kings away.
It was the Hawks’ ninth win in their last 11 games against Los Angeles and moved their record to 14-7-3 on the season and 7-6-1 away from home. The Kings fell to 11-8-4 overall and 5-3-3 at home.
ONE-TIMER: Winger Daniel Carcillo was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. Carcillo, who hasn’t had a point in five consecutive games, played a season-low 6 minutes, 24 seconds against the Ducks.
“I wanted to play John Scott up front (at forward),” Quenneville said. “I thought he was effective here last year so that was the thought process.”
Quenneville said Carcillo’s recent play also was a factor in the decision.
“I thought (Carcillo) had a great start,” Quenneville said. “He hasn’t been at that same pace. I still think he’s going to be an important part of our team.”