Something’s Gotta Give: Blackhawks Look to End Kings’ Dominance at Staples Center

Toews scores in the season opener. (Credit: Wally Skalij, Los Angeles Times)
Toews scores in the season opener. (Credit: Wally Skalij, Los Angeles Times)

To really capture how well the Los Angeles Kings have played at home lately, let’s go over some of the things that have happened since their last loss at Staples Center.

♦   The Columbus Blue Jackets – yes, those Columbus Blue Jackets – were competing for a playoff spot in the final week of the season.

♦   The St. Louis Blues still were considered a contender for the Stanley Cuhahahahaha sorry about that one.

♦   Not only did baseball season start, but every Major League team has played at least 54 games. The Cubs have even found a way to win 23 times. 23!

♦   April and May passed. Both months. All gone.

♦   Nakis got engaged. Really, he did. Congratulate him.

The Kings haven’t lost on home ice since falling 1-0 to Vancouver on March 23. They’ve won 14 straight at Staples Center, including going 7-0 in these playoffs. Jonathan Quick in that stretch? 13-0-0, 1.37 goals-against average, .946 save percentage.

If you’re wondering how the hell a team that’s 1-7 on the road in the playoffs can be preparing for Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, there’s your answer. Los Angeles has been so dominant at home that their only road win – Game 5 in St. Louis, of course – has been enough to get them this far.

Those numbers, plus the comeback from 0-2 down versus the Blues, are the reasons no one is counting out the Kings despite them dropping the first two at the United Center. They play like shit on the road, we get it. But they’ve shown all it may take is for them to do what they’ve been doing at home and stealing one in Chicago to suddenly have a chance to defend their Stanley Cup in the Final.

Oh, and that Quick guy is still pretty good, too. Seeing as he hadn’t allowed more than three goals in his previous 34 playoff games, I’m going to go with the fact that Game 2 was a fluke and to not expect it again. Right?

In his last 34 appearances at home, including the postseason, Quick has posted a 1.54 GAA while allowing more than three goals just twice. Once came March 7 in a 5-2 loss to Dallas. The other? Banner-raising day. The season-opening 5-2 loss to the Blackhawks on Jan. 19. That game, however, doesn’t appear to be any sort of fluke.

The ‘Hawks have won five of their last six games at Staples Center, with Quick posting a 2.70 GAA in that stretch. Jonathan Toews has nine points in his last nine games there, including a goal in each of the last three. Marian Hossa had two goals and an assist and Patrick Kane had one of each in the season opener.

Think these guys are intimidated? Hell no.

Los Angeles may be 26-4-1 at home this season, but the Blackhawks have proven that the Kings are not invincible when wearing the dark sweaters. It just seems that way.

Puck drop is 8 p.m. CST from the West Coast.

Let’s Go ‘Hawks!