The Chicago Blackhawks won the first game against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Finals 2-1. They have a 1-0 series lead and are 6-0 in the playoffs when leading after two periods.
Like many first games, the game started off slow, so the teams could get a feel for each other. L.A. was the first team to break through and started to play the game. Justin Williams scored at 14:23 when Dave Bolland failed to clear the puck. L.A. only had two shots on goal in the period and one went in. Chicago had 17 shots and goalie Jonathan Quick stopped all of them. They were not good shots, though, because Chicago could not get any players in front of the net to grab the rebounds. The great L.A. defense was starting to show, but Chicago relentlessly applied pressure.
Chicago gradually broke through the L.A. defense and put players in front of the net. Their first goal was from Patrick Sharp at 12:29 off a rebound. Marian Hossa scored at 16:22, almost four minutes later, when he tipped in the puck off a shot by Duncan Keith. That was the end of the L.A. defense. Chicago not only upped their defense, but they matched the hits by L.A. and would not allow more offense.
Kings head coach Darryl Sutter tried to make something work by mixing up the lines and partners on the blue line. Nothing was working and Chicago remained in control. Goalie Corey Crawford stopped 21 of 22 shots and Quick stopped 34 out of 36. Chicago also maintained their brilliant penalty killing record at 42 out of 43. The only power play goal they allowed was against Detroit.
Game 2 is Sunday night in Chicago at 8PM ET on the NBC Sports Network.