LOS ANGELES – The Blackhawks had played a so-so game on Friday, got down 2-0, yet stormed back to beat the Anaheim Ducks in late regulation/overtime.
On Saturday, they got it handed right back to them by the Los Angeles Kings, a team that’s erased a few Blackhawks leads in past postseason outings.
Patrick Kane scored a power-play goal to set a new point streak for U.S.-born players, but Marian Gaborik scored twice, including the overtime winner, in the Kings’ 3-2 decision over the Blackhawks on Saturday night. The Blackhawks ended their Circus Trip with a 3-1-2 mark, but were just a period away from making that 4-1-1. The Kings, however, had other ideas.
[SHOP BLACKHAWKS: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]
“Same exact game, opposite way,” said Kane, who now has a 19-game point streak. “It seemed like we wanted to sit back and play it safe, and obviously that doesn’t work in this league. Frustrating when that happens. It would’ve ben nice to get another insurance marker and build off that, but we sat back there and they took it to us.”
The Blackhawks built a 2-0 lead on Kane’s early goal and a second-period score from Niklas Hjalmarsson, who recorded his first goal of the season. But outside of that, this game looked a lot like Friday’s in Anaheim: the home team outplaying the Blackhawks through a good deal of it.
Scott Darling was strong through the first two periods, stopping the Kings’ 20 shots through 40 minutes. But in the third, the Kings finally broke through. Jeff Carter scored 52 seconds into the period and Gaborik tied it with 5:55 remaining.
“It sucks,” said Brent Seabrook, whose turnover led to Gaborik’s first goal. “I thought we played well, played well enough to win. Tough bounce at the end of the third and a lot of chances in overtime; that’s sort of the way the game went.”
Overtime was its usual 3-on-3 frenzied best. Both teams had their grade-A opportunities, with Gaborik breaking away for the winner 2:04 into overtime.
Lost in all of the craziness was Kane setting a new point streak for a U.S.-born player. He shared the previous record of 18 with Eddie Olczyk and Phil Kessel for just one day.
“Yeah, we congratulated him as soon as that happened,” Marian Hossa said. “It’s unique to be part of something special like this. He’s a special player and he’s got the big numbers in front of him.”
[RELATED - Blackhawks: Patrick Kane sets NHL record]
The Blackhawks didn’t end this trip exactly how they wanted. They got eight points out of a possible 12. But they were close to getting that ninth and finishing that much better. They just played too conservative with that lead which, against the Kings, hasn’t been safe in the past.
“I guess it’s natural to do that,” Kane said about sitting back on a lead. “At the same time, a lot of guys have played a lot of games in this league to know that’s not the recipe for success, the way games can turn on a dime. It’s pretty frustrating because going into the third up 2-0, looking like the trip’s going to end on a good note, and couldn’t follow it through.”