The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks paid a visit to Staples Center on Saturday night and gave the Kings a lesson on how to protect a lead.
If there’s any good to come out of the 2-1 loss, the Kings' sixth in their last seven games, it’s that they at least took some notes.
Except for a 5-on-3 goal by Anze Kopitar with 5 minutes 2 seconds remaining in the game, the Kings couldn’t find the back of the net against Corey Crawford, who has essentially won the job from No. 1 goalie Marty Turco during Chicago’s six-game road trip that ended with the victory against Los Angeles and a 4-2 mark.
After outplaying the road-weary Blackhawks during the first period, the Kings seemed to put their newly re-aligned offense in neutral the rest of the way, totaling just 13 shots over the final two periods, despite having five power-play opportunities.
Chicago took a 1-0 lead when defenseman Jack Johnson whiffed on rebound that came back to him at the point, leading to a 2-on-1 going the other way. Patrick Sharp took a pass from Patrick Kane and snuck it past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick at the 10:36 mark of the second period.
With captain Dustin Brown moving from right wing to the left side on the top line, and Wayne Simmonds taking Brown’s spot on right wing, they provided a few moments of excitement, but Chicago seemed to adjust and limited the Kings to just three shots on goal in the second period, their lowest output for a period this season.
Kane and Sharp against hooked up early in the third period, as Sharp sent a centering pass that went off Kane's mid-section and into the Kings goal. After a brief review, the point counted and the Kings were chasing a 2-0 lead.