First things first: Hawks go up 1-0
It was a crazy first period for the Blackhawks on Saturday.
The Hawks trailed the Los Angeles Kings 1-0 despite outshooting them 17-2.
And they were pleased.
"We liked the way we played," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was kind of an injustice being down 1-0, but we exited the bench with a positive approach. We made them play in their zone.
"Trying to get their defense to turn and play in their end is something we want to establish. If you make them play in their end you can wear them down, you can get chances and get shots."
It paid off for the Hawks in the second period when they got goals less than four minutes apart from Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa and held on to beat the Kings 2-1 at the United Center in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
Game 2 is Sunday at 7 p.m.
Both goals were straight out of the textbook on how to beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick as Sharp scored on a rebound and Hossa on a tip-in from in front.
"He's a good goalie, we all know that, and when he sees pucks he's going to stop them," Sharp said. "So anytime you can get those second and third chances, drive to the net and get to the inside, that's the idea."
The Hawks then turned it over to Corey Crawford, who made 20 straight saves after allowing a fluky goal to Justin Williams in the first period.
The Hawks played the last 1:41 of the game on the power play after Jeff Carter tripped Dave Bolland in retaliation for a questionable hit Bolland put on Mike Richards behind the Hawks' net moments earlier.
Bolland appeared to leave his skates to hit Richards on the chin with his shoulder, but referees Wes McCauley and Dan O'Halloran kept their whistles in their pockets.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter had no problem with the hit because he couldn't see what happened.
"Couldn't see anything," Sutter said. "He was behind the net and behind the goalie and with guys changing, I really couldn't see it."
The Hawks played keepaway on the power play and never let Quick get out of the net for a sixth attacker.
"We were up by 1 goal and just wanted to be smart with the puck," Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "I though we moved it around the way we wanted to there, just trying to be a little conservative and protect our lead."
It might have been the most important Hawks power play of the playoffs.
"It was exactly what we wanted to do," said Hawks winger Patrick Kane. "Move it around and keep it away from them. We've seen before where that can kind of haunt you where if you do something stupid and they intercept a pass, they can come down and score."
The Hawks never let the bigger and more physical Kings get their forecheck going, controlling the puck for much of the game.
"It's something we talk about, trying to have good breakouts and it helps when our forward come back and do a good job supporting us," Keith said. "L.A is a good forechecking team and they have a lot of guys who get in there hard, so it's not easy."
The Kings are now 1-6 on the road in the postseason after going 10-1 last season away from the Staples Center when they won the Stanley Cup.
While the Hawks got goals from Sharp and Hossa, and Jonathan Toews was noticeable in 17 strong minutes, the Kings got little from their top players.
Anze Kopitar had 1 shot in 19 minutes and Dustin Brown had no shots. Carter was minus-1 with 1 shot and Richards had just 1 shot. Defenseman Drew Doughty was minus-2.
"I think the two guys that scored for them are going to score goals," Sutter said. "We have guys that have to score goals, and that's how close it will be."
Sharp scored at 12:29 on a Johnny Oduya rebound for his eighth goal of the playoffs. Hossa made it 2-1 at 16:22 with his sixth goal, a tip-in of a Keith shot from the left point.
• Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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