Blackhawks spoil Kings' celebration with 5-2 victoryBy Curtis Zupke, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sat, Jan 19, 2013 7:30 PM EST
LOS ANGELES -- The Chicago Blackhawks got the season off to a bang and sent the Los Angeles Kings back to earth. Marian Hossa had two goals and an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks spoiled the Kings' Stanley Cup championship banner-raising opener with a 5-2 victory Saturday. Hossa beat goalie Jonathan Quick with a shot from the top of the right circle for a 5-2 lead halfway through the third period. Los Angeles had pulled to 4-2 just 15 seconds earlier when Jordan Nolan redirected Matt Greene's shot under the crossbar. Before the game, the Kings raised their first Stanley Cup banner at Staples Center and even brought out the Cup and passed it around. But Chicago was clearly the sharper team with a three-goal first period after the pomp-and circumstance. "I'm sure it's easy to get caught up in that, but we weren't going to take that for granted and assume that they were going to start out flat," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. "We were more focused on our game and making sure we were ready to play right off the bat. If you score, you score. If you don't, you keep working for those chances. That's what we did. We were lucky to get a few early and kind of keep the pressure on them for 60 minutes." Toews shook off flu and had a goal, an assist and won 16 of 25 faceoffs. He made it 4-0 when he was left unchecked to swoop in and put in a rebound at 1:16 of the second period after Patrick Kane was stopped on an odd-angle breakaway. The Kings did not allow four goals in any of their 20 playoff games last season. Chicago wouldn't say if Los Angeles looked flat but it has been down the Cup-hangover road itself. "There could be lot of reasons for it -- whether it's a long ceremony or the expectations for them to come back after a season like that or us coming out and try to play the best game we can against the Stanley Cup champions," Kane said. "There's a lot of factors that go into, but we probably couldn't have asked for a better start." The Kings finally revived their crowd with their first goal with 1:23 left in the second period, on a wrist shot by Rob Scuderi that made it through traffic to make it 4-1. But the defending champs mostly looked a step slow and out of sync offensively through the first 40 minutes, going scoreless on four power plays. Their typically stellar defense in front of Quick wasn't there, either. Was the ceremony a factor? "It shouldn't be," Matt Greene said. "There's no excuses. You're down 3-0 after the first period. It's the first game of the season. You've got to be better." Los Angeles was credited with 14 giveaways. Coach Darryl Sutter kept the media waiting more than 35 minutes after the buzzer and, when asked what they need to improve on, quipped, "Probably everything." Said captain Dustin Brown, "I think for players, that's something we learned -- to see our rings and to see our banner going up. But at the same time, we probably aren't nearly as sharp as we wanted to be as a team. "It's one game. We've got to get back at it. A lot of it is timing. When you're timing's off, you're behind." Kane looked like he was in mid-season form when he one-timed Hossa's pass just under Quick's glove for a power-play goal to get the Blackhawks going. Hossa was credited with Chicago's second goal when his backhanded centering pass to Toews deflected off Drew Doughty and into the net at 12:57. NOTES: Toews and Kings' Justin Williams played despite missing Friday's practice with illness. ... Anze Kopitar missed the game with a sprained knee but will likely play on L.A.'s upcoming road trip. ... Quick, who allowed four goals in four games against Chicago last season, allowed four in the first 21:16. ... Davis Drewiske played in his first game since Feb.18, 2012, as Willie Mitchell is out with a knee injury ... Chicago played the first game of an NHL-high (tied with Detroit) 12 back-to-back sequences this season. The Blackhawks were 8-8-1 in the first game of a back-to-back set and 9-6-2 in the second last season. ... The family of Ana Marquez-Greene, one of the victims in the Newtown, Conn., shootings, helped carry the banner out during the pregame ceremony.
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