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Kings lose opener on the road, 2-1

Another slow start dooms Kings against Blackhawks. Justin Williams scores the only goal.

June 01, 2013|By Lisa Dillman

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CHICAGO — If you missed any part of the Kings' latest road loss in the playoffs — this one a 2-1 defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals — it is incredibly simple to catch up.

Here are the Cliffs Notes. Not Kyle Clifford's notes.

Slow start. Two shots in the first period. Terrific goaltending by Jonathan Quick. Another one-goal loss.

You almost have to marvel at such a consistent pattern on the road, a mere one win in seven playoff games for the Kings. Chicago won the often flat affair Saturday at the United Center, with Game 2 on Sunday.

Chicago's goals came in a tight second-period span, less than four minutes apart, from Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. Hossa's clever deflection was the game-winner at 16:22.

Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr wasn't buying into any positive notions about the game staying close. He dispatched that theory quickly.

"That was thanks to unbelievable individual effort by Jonathan Quick," Regehr said of his goalie, who faced 36 shots. "Really, you've got rose-colored glasses on if you're looking at the game plan that way. We weren't very good in the first two periods. We can play a lot better and we have to."

There was some controversy, which seemed as if it might follow the pattern of the last round.Raffi Torres of the San Jose Sharks was suspended for the rest of that series after his hit on Kings center Jarret Stoll in Game 1.

On Saturday there was a questionable hit on Kings center Mike Richards by Chicago's Dave Bolland in the last two minutes. There was no penalty on the play and Richards looked shaken up.

There will not be any supplementary discipline, however, because the league said late Saturday night that there would be no hearing on the matter.

Richards declined comment when asked twice by reporters if there should have been a penalty on the hit by Bolland. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said he did not see the incident and several players echoed that party line.

"The picture speaks for itself," said Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi, via email.

Bolland, for his part, felt that it was a clean hit.

"Yeah, it's a quick game," he said. "It's a hard-hitting game. It's just the way it is. It's the way the game goes. You get hit. It happens. It's happened to me.

"I hit him with my back, my shoulder. I had my elbow down, who knows, right? It's hockey."

Only hockey and its often random nature could account for the Kings holding a 1-0 lead after being utterly outplayed in the opening 20 minutes. They were outshot 17-2 and did not get their first shot on goal until there was 8:11 left in the opening period.

"I think we got away from our game plan a little bit," Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. "I think we played well when we were playing together as five and not making turnovers. We had way too many turnovers in the neutral zone and at our blue line and their blue line."

Overall, the Kings were outshot by the Blackhawks, 36-22.

Chicago goalie Corey Crawford's stickhandling miscue behind the net led to another error on what was the Kings' only goal. It was scored by Justin Williams (his fifth of the playoffs) when Bolland's clearing attempt went off his stick.

Fairly soon, someone other than Williams might have to start scoring for the Kings. They've scored three times in the last two games, all from Williams.

"The two guys who scored for them are going to score goals," Sutter said. "We have guys who have to score goals."

Twitter: @reallisa

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