Blackhawks top Kings in season opener
Los Angeles, CA – It took an extra three months, but the Los Angeles Kings finally got to have their Stanley Cup celebration. It all went downhill from there.
Marian Hossa scored twice and added an assist to lead the Chicago Blackhawks in a 5-2 win over the Kings in the season opener on Saturday.
Last June saw the Kings win the first Cup in franchise history as the team defeated the New Jersey Devils in six games, capping a 16-4 postseason run that saw the team become the first eighth seed to take home the coveted chalice.
In a pre-game ceremony, Los Angeles raised its championship banner in the rafters of the Staples Center, but Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick gave up three goals in the first period en route to the season-opening loss.
"The ceremony was great, but for the most part we wanted to play," said Quick. "We were here to win a hockey game, I didn't make saves like I should have and we didn't play like we wanted to."
Quick posted a 1.41 goals against average and .946 save percentage in last year's playoff run, but he allowed five goals on 22 shots while Rob Scuderi and Jordan Nolan scored in the loss.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each posted a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who got 19 saves from Corey Crawford in the win.
"Nice win, we knew it was going to be tough," said Kane. "It was nice to get a 3-0 lead early. Everyone is going to play their best against the cup champion, its a good start."
Chicago made the playoffs last season as the sixth seed, but was dispatched by the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round after six games.
The Blackhawks opened the scoring in the game with the first goal of the season. On a 5-on-3, Kane dumped the puck back to Hossa at the right point. Moments after, Hossa sent it back down to Kane at the low right side for a one-timer that beat Quick 3:41 in.
Chicago made it a 2-0 game with 7:03 left in the first as Hossa sent a centering pass from the right wing that hit off a King in front and just over a minute later, Michael Frolik one-timed a pass off the post and in for a 3-0 advantage.
The Blackhawks wasted no time making it a 4-0 game in the second as Kane skated in down the left wing on a clean break and had his shot stopped, but Toews followed up to put home the rebound just 1:16 in.
Los Angeles finally got on the board with 1:23 to play in the middle stanza when Scuderi flung a shot on net from the right point that found its way past a screened Crawford.
Nolan made it a two-goal game at the 9:20 mark of the third on a tip-in, but Hossa killed any thoughts of a comeback just 15 seconds later with his second goal of the game.
The Kings play their next three games on the road starting Tuesday in Colorado ... Chicago plays at Phoenix on Sunday ... The Kings took three of four from the Blackhawks last season ... Los Angeles center Anze Kopitar was out with a sprained right knee ... Chicago went 1-for-5 on the power play while the Kings failed on all five of their chances.