LOS ANGELES – They finally found the net, but couldn’t trigger the win column.
Coming into tonight, the Kings had scored a combined three goals in their previous six affairs. Tonight, they equaled that mark, scoring three goals on the Chicago Blackhawks, but were unable to stymie Chicago’s high-flying offensive tandem.
The Kings started the night shorthanded, as Drew Doughty took a penalty just :24 seconds into the game – only to see Chicago’s Patrick Kane give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead 1:02 into the night during their man-advantage opportunity.
Kane started and finished Chicago’s scoring tonight, and had three points (2G, 1A) in his first and only visit to STAPLES Center this season.
Brian Bickell put Chicago up 2-0 minutes after Kane’s opening tally, putting the finishing touches on a Blackhawks’ three-on-one odd-man rush.
Drew Doughty responded 1:08 after Bickell gave Chicago a two-goal lead, rocketing home a slap shot from the point to beat Corey Crawford for his eighth goal of the season with 10:08 left to play in the first period.
Anze Kopitar would tie the contest for the Kings early in the second period, sneaking a puck past Corey Crawford 6:30 into the second frame for his 17th goal of the season.
The Kings reached the two-goal mark for the first time in a single game since tallying three against Columbus on January 21, but still went into the third period tonight trailing the Blackhawks 3-2.
When the Kings find a way to score three goals, they’re nearly unstoppable, and posted a 19-3-0 record when reaching three goals in a single game this season.
The Kings would get that third goal from Tyler Toffoli, but only after Nick Leddy beat Jonathan Quick off of a deflected puck to give the Blackhawks a 4-2 lead with 12:59 to play, and after Kane sent home his second goal of the night, giving Chicago a 5-2 lead with 8:51 to play.
Toffoli knocked home a rebound for his 10th goal of the season, after Jeff Carter’s wrap-around popped out in front of the crease. Toffoli’s goal inched the Kings closer, to a 5-3 deficit with 8:18 remaining in regulation, but it was too little too late.
The Kings fell to Chicago 5-3 tonight, and have been swept by the Blackhawks in their season series, dropping all three meetings.
Signs of improvement were seen from the Kings tonight, as they’re now 1-8-1 in their last 10 games. The Kings pummeled the Blackhawks physically, outhitting them 36-10, winning 65% of the evening’s faceoff’s, and outshot Chicago 34-30.
Anze Kopitar, with three points (1G, 2A) tonight, recorded his third three-point performance of the season, and his 10th multi-point game.
The Kings have won just one of their past 10 games, and their record has now dropped to a 30-22-6 mark, which stands at 66 points, sitting them at sixth place in the Western Conference.
The Kings have one more game before the NHL takes a break for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics; they’ll host the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night at STAPLES Center.