(AP) The Chicago Blackhawks raised their own Stanley Cup championship banner just two seasons ago, so their core players already know it’s tough to go back to work after a pre-game party.
When the Los Angeles Kings were finished raising their banner and receiving their rings Saturday, the Blackhawks reminded the champs that what happened last year won’t help the Kings in this shortened NHL season.
Marian Hossa had two goals and an assist, Corey Crawford made 19 saves, and Chicago crashed the Kings’ Stanley Cup celebration with a 5-2 victory.
Captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who jumped to a 3-0 lead on Michael Frolik’s goal less than 15 minutes in.
With superior speed and skill, Chicago ruined the festivities shortly after the Kings hung their first championship banner in the Staples Center rafters.
With every player who touched the ice in last season’s playoffs returning to defend the title, the Kings received their championship rings during a stirring pregame ceremony that included each player passing the Cup around the boards. The Blackhawks didn’t watch it, but they seemed fired up from the opening faceoff.
Rob Scuderi and Jordan Nolan scored and Jonathan Quick stopped 17 shots for the Kings, who are definitely done celebrating last season’s achievements as the first eighth-seeded playoff team to win the Stanley Cup.
Quick gave up five goals just once last season while making his first All-Star team, but he wasn’t much better than his teammates in his first game since winning the Conn Smythe Trophy and getting a 10-year, $58 million contract extension.
While the Kings learned they’ve got work to do, the Blackhawks showed why they’ve got a shot at repeating their 2010 championship run. Kane seemed particularly sharp after spending the lockout playing in Switzerland.
Hossa was the Blackhawks’ leading scorer last season, but he left his final game on a stretcher after a hit by Phoenix’s Raffi Torres, who got a 25-game suspension. The lockout was a benefit to Hossa’s recovery, and the 11-time 25-goal scorer is off to another big start.
Los Angeles began the season without two key players: Leading scorer Anze Kopitar, who hurt his knee while playing in Sweden, and defenseman Willie Mitchell, who had knee surgery.
Both players wore their uniforms and skates while participating in the pregame ceremony, but the Kings’ good pregame feelings got erased about two minutes in when Matt Greene and Trevor Lewis went to the penalty box 43 seconds apart. Los Angeles killed most of the 5-on-3, but Kane scored with 8 seconds left in the advantage.
Hossa, who set up Kane’s goal, then got credit for a score when his centering pass hit Drew Doughty’s skate and ricocheted past Quick. Just 74 seconds after that, Frolik put a pall over the celebratory crowd with the Blackhawks’ third goal on eight shots.
When Toews, who spent the week ailing with a cold, alertly scored 1:16 into the second period, a few scattered boos came down from the sellout crowd. The Kings’ defense appeared to miss Mitchell, while Kopitar’s absence has forced coach Darryl Sutter to shuffle the lines that worked so splendidly in last season’s playoffs.
NOTES: Scuderi matched his entire goal total from 82 games last season. … Chicago scratched veteran RW Jamal Mayers and new D Michal Roszival. … Los Angeles scratched new RW Anthony Stewart after acquiring him from Carolina earlier in the week.