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Heavy Is The Head That Drinks The Crown – Hawks 5, Kings 3

Box Score
Event Summary
Extra Skater

Even though both the Kings and the Hawks came into the evening careening through some tough stretches since the turn of the calendar year, the game played certainly wasn’t an indicator of some of the things both teams had been struggling with prior to tonight.

For one, the Kings got goals from people not named Anze Kopitar, and even one on the power play courtesy of Drew Doughty. Kopitar would add one of his own in a second period that saw the Kings surge reminiscent of their dominant run of the spring of 2012, but still ended up on the wrong end of a Marcus Kruger deflection to remain down after forty.

From there, the Hawks displayed a closing kick that hasn’t been on display for quite a bit, with two goals to put some distance between themselves and the competition, rather than blowing yet another lead. Apparently they wanted to get that part out of the way early. The Kings would press in the final minutes to grab a goal mouth scramble goal from Tyler Toffoli, but the Hawks held onto their two goal lead to end things after sixty, having now taken six of 8 points on this road trip.

Observations

    • Patrick Kane was as dangerous as he’s looked in a month, and the results bore out on the score sheet, starting with a power play goal a minute in wherein he was given enough time and space that even Bryan Bickell could have wound up a wrister and found twine even from that angle. And while the convenient narrative might be that Kane was playing for the memory of his grandfather who departed today, the fact of the matter is he has the skill to drop a three point night on anyone he damn pleases, divine intervention or no.
    • Clearly the game plan for the Kings was to come out and attempt to rag doll the Hawks, and all that got them was four minors in the first period. Once they settled in on playing actual hockey, their possession dominance showed through, and shots came from any and every angle for the first half of the second period. All told the Kings controlled possession numbers by a fair margin, with 53% of Corsi and 54.6% of Fenwick. Even while the Kings haven’t been able to hit a bull in the ass with a banjo scoring wise, they still regularly have the puck more than the opposition. This seems diametrically opposed to the results they’re getting until YOU WATCH A GAME NERD, where it’s plainly obvious the Kings have all the collective offensive creativity of Grond.
    • That possession dominance was aided in large part by the Hawks getting absolutely dong-whipped at the dot, which included Jonathan Toews winning a paltry 21% of his draws. Toews took a big spill early in the game and appeared to be favoring a shoulder, so that might have affected his ability to win a draw, but the Kings in general are aces at the dot, especially Kopitar and Stoll, and being at home gives them an extra advantage.
    • According to the unwashed masses of Twitter, Patrick Sharp is just a petulant, selfish, retaliatory penalty waiting to happen and has been for his 8ish years here. While the high-sticking double is less than ideal, it’s hardly a Bieksa caliber trend. And that was a pretty OK pass on the coffin nail goal from Kane.
    • The stats show Corey Crawford giving up three tonight, including a roller from Kopitar he probably could have had. But he sure as hell backstopped a Hawks team on its heels early in the second, long enough for the tide to swing back and regain the lead without looking back.
    • With Anaheim getting Bobrovsky-ed at the Pond tonight, Wednesday night’s matchup looms large atop the West standings (yes, the Blues have games in hand), making it the proverbial four point game. Unless it goes to overtime, and then it’s not.

One more time: It’s Willie Mitchell yet again everyone.

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