CHICAGO -- The shots went left, right and high. They hit just about every square inch of the goalie's body. They did everything but go under the ice and come out the back side of the goal.
In the end though, despite handfuls of offensive chances, the Kings could put only one puck in the Chicago net, and that wasn't enough as they fell to the Blackhawks 3-1 in a spirited but frustrating game against the defending Stanley Cup champions before 20,667 at United Center.
Justin Williams made it a 1-1 game for the Kings midway through the first period, but Chicago re-took the lead early in the second period and scored an insurance goal with 2:05 left in the game.
``I thought the second half of the second period and the start of the third period, there were a lot of good things happening,'' Kings coach Terry Murray said. ``We were getting the pucks in, cycling and shots to the net. Bottom line is, we couldn't find a way to get it by Turco here tonight. We were close.''
The Kings outshot the Blackhawks 34-28, including 15-8 in the third period, but that only made things all the more frustrating. Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier made 25 saves and got beat three times, once on a bad bounce and two on questionable plays, but he got little support.
Chicago goalie Marty Turco got quite a workout, as he often had to scramble in his crease to deflect or cover pucks, but he did get some help from the guys in front of him. Blackhawks defensemen combined to block 10 shots and limited the Kings' options on offense.
Still, there were plenty of chances. The Kings hit the crossbar at least twice and nearly scored on a half-dozen tip-ins. Those were bad breaks for the Kings, but they also didn't help themselves with a power-play breakdown at an important time.
Trailing 2-1 just over eight minutes into the third period, and having spent several minutes buzzing around the Chicago zone, the Kings went on the power play on a Nick Boynton holding call.
The scene seemed set for a game-tying goal, but in the two minutes the Kings had trouble even possessing the puck and getting into the offensive zone. The Kings did not record a shot on goal on the power play, and the Blackhawks seemed to gain some confidence from the kill.
``It's a 2-1 game and, to me, there really needs to be an attitude of getting pucks to the net and really making it difficult for the defending team,'' Murray said. ``I thought we were looking to pass it into the net, rather than shooting the puck into the net. That's a missed opportunity to me.''
Patrick Sharp scored with 2:05 remaining for the Blackhawks, who never trailed. Jake Dowell scored in the first period and Viktor Stalberg made it 2-1 early in the second period.
``Yeah, you do get frustrated a little bit, but you have to find ways to combat that,'' Williams said. ``For every good defense, there's always an offensive scheme you can conjure up to try to beat it. We tried to get pucks wide, and away from their blocks, stuff like that, but we weren't able to get one past Turco when we needed a score. Tough insurance goal at the end got us.''
The Blackhawks got the scoring started 5:16 into the game. Dowell took the puck to the right side of the net and just got around Davis Drewiske. Dowell's shot deflected off the stick of Drewiske from close range and beat Bernier high.
The Kings tied the game at the 9:34 mark. Williams made it happen for himself, as he chased down a Drewiske dump-in, beat Chicago's Duncan Keith to the puck and beat Turco with a quick wrist shot from close range to make it 1-1. Drewiske and Peter Harrold picked up assists.
Chicago took the lead back 1:18 into the second period. Bernier made the save on a long-range shot by Keith, but led the rebound bounce right in front of him. Before Bernier could cover the puck, Stalberg beat Rob Scuderi to the front of the net and knocked the puck in with a backhand shot.
``I didn't see it at first,'' Bernier said of Keith's shot. ``I just saw it at the end. It hit the inside of my blocker and popped right in front. It just feels like, since the beginning of the season, that every mistake I make ends up in the back of my net. I just have to stay positive and my game should come back if I stay positive.''
The Kings had another handful of prime scoring chances in the third period, but Sharp gave the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead with 2:05 remaining. Sharp carried the puck into the Kings' zone, put a speed move on Scuderi to get to the net and maneuvered the puck around Bernier, into the net.
``The second period, we killed off a few penalties, then after that we really took off and took the fight to them,'' Kings center Anze Kopitar said. ``But we didn't get any results. We had some quality shots on net, but they didn't go in for us.''
The Kings now conclude their five-game road trip in a tough way, with the second half of a back-to-back set. The Kings play the Dallas Stars on Thursday night at America Airlines Arena. The Kings are 2-2-0 on the trip and 6-3-0 for the season.
1 - 0 CHI
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 CHI