On Saturday night, Nov. 28, 2015 a rowdy standing-room-only crowd of 18, 482 at STAPLES Center in downtown Los Angeles were witness to a great comeback win and the setting of a new NHL record. The Los Angeles Kings erased a 2-0 third period deficit and beat the Chicago Blackhawks by a final score of 3-2 in overtime. Not only was this a terrific game, but there was also history made.
Coming into the game, the underlying story was whether or not spectacular Chicago forward Patrick Kane would set a new record for longest consecutive NHL point-scoring streak for a U.S.-born player. The 27-year old native of Buffalo, New York had registered an assist in his team’s dramatic overtime victory against the Anaheim Ducks the night before. This brought his consecutive game point streak to 18 games, leaving him tied with Ed Olcyk and Phil Kessel.
The drama did not last long. On the first power play of the game, Kane took advantage of a giveaway caused by his teammate Duncan Keith, and lofted a well-placed shot high over the shoulder of Kings netminder Jonathan Quick at 11:10 of the first period. With his point streak now at 19 games, Kane now stands alone. The all-time record point-streak for all NHL players, is 51 games (Wayne Gretzky).
The Blackhawks were going for their second win in as many nights. What they got instead, was the other side of the coin. The previous night in Anaheim, the Blackhawks had overcome a 2-0 deficit going into the third period and wound up tying the game and winning in overtime by a score of 3-2. On this night, it was the Blackhawks who were unable to hold the two-goal lead and lost in overtime by the identical score.
This was a classic matchup involving teams which have championship mettle. The Blackhawks are the reigning Stanley Cup champions and these two teams have alternated winning the championship each season since 2012. As one can imagine, nothing came easy.
The Kings outshot Chicago 8-6 in the first period, but trailed 1-0. In the second period, they were outshooting Chicago 11-2 before a Niklas Hjalmarsson slapshot pushed the Blackhawks lead to 2-0 at the 12:56 mark. The Hjalmarsson goal seemed to ignite the visiting team as they then held the Kings to just one shot on goal for the balance of the period.
Trailing 2-0 going into the third period, the Kings benefited from an early goal by Jeff Carter who put a rebound past Chicago netminder Scott Darling just 52 seconds in. As the clock ticked past the midway point of the period, the Kings got a bit of a gift when normally reliable Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook mishandled the puck in his own zone. Kings forward Anze Kopitar pounced on the loose puck and got it over to his linemate Marian Gaborik who scored on a point-blank shot with just under six minutes left in regulation time. Quick then had to come up big when Chicago forward Jonathan Toews had a quality scoring chance with just one second remaining in regulation time.
The icing on the cake, was the thrill ride that is the 3-on-3 overtime format. Both Chicago coach Joel Quenneville and Kings coach Darryl Sutter started off by sending out prolific offensive players. To begin the overtime, it was Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith for Chicago going against Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty. The overtime session lived up to the hype.
Both teams were aggressive and both goaltenders were stellar. In the end, it was Kopitar hitting Gaborik with a stretch pass in the neutral zone and Gaborik converting the breakaway (with Kane in hot pursuit) and ending the game 2:04 into the overtime session. Final shots on goal in the overtime period, were 5-3 in favor of the Kings.
Kings notes – With an overall record of 14-8-1, the Kings lead the Pacific division. The win over Chicago was the first game of a four-game homestand for the team. The homestand continues on Tuesday night Dec. 1 against the Vancouver Canucks. They will then face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, Dec 5 and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday, Dec 6.
Nov, 28, 2015: CHI at LAK. Final score – LAK 3, CHI 2 (OT). Final shots on goal: – LAK 36, CHI 22. Power play – CHI 1/1, LAK 0/1. Three Stars of the game – 1) Jeff Carter – LAK, 2) Patrick Kane – CHI, 3) Marian Gaborik – LAK. Goaltenders: LAK – Jonathan Quick. CHI – Scott Darling.
Kings Forward line combinations:
Kings defense pairings: