The Blackhawks traveled to Los Angeles, where an enthusiastic crowd watched the 2012 Stanley Cup banner raised to the rafters to join the 12 Lakers banners. With a long opening ceremony showing pictures of the players with the cup throughout the year and the ring presentation, the puck was finally about to drop for the first time since June 11.
A packed Staples Center soon turned to silence as the Blackhawks showed the Kings that last year’s improbable run won’t translate into this shortened NHL season. Patrick Kane, captain Johnathan Toews and Michael Frolik scored goals in the first 15 minutes to jump out to a 3-0 lead.
The Blackhawks never looked back as Marian Hossa scored two goals adding to the route. At the final whistle the Blackhawks spoiled the Kings party with a 5-2 victory. The Blackhawks used superior speed and skill to out play the defending champions. The Blackhawks also did something they struggled with the entire 2012 season, score on a power play. Last year, the Blackhawks powerplay percentage ranked 26 as they had a powerplay percentage of 15.2.
What does this win mean? Well I’ll admit that this victory is too early to predict, but with this blow-out win over the defending champions the Blackhawks should be viewed as a top threat to contend for the 2013 cup. The prediction machine predicts the Blackhawks to finish sixth in the Western Conference. This baffles me. The prediction machine has the St. Louis Blues (which is understandable due to the fact they are an amazing team), Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators and Kings ahead of the Hawks’.
If Corey Crawford can continue to play like he did against the Kings, the Blackhawks will be hard to beat. Crawford was very inconsistent throughout the 2011-12 season. Goaltending will be the key for a successful 2013 season. We’ll see if the Blackhawks can continue their hot start to the season as they get the chance to get revenge against the Phoenix Coyotes, the team who knocked them out of the 2012 playoffs.
On a side note, Daniel Carcillo suffered a lower body injury during the third period of the Blackhawks’ 5-2 victory against the Kings. According to Hawks’ head coach Joel Quenneville “Danny is going to miss some time here. We’ll know more exactly about the time frame by (Sunday).” This was Carcillo’s first game since ACL surgery a year ago. The loss of Carcillo will hurt the Blackhawks a bit, but the Hawks’ will survive.
The Blackhawks will take center ice Sunday against the Coyotes 9:00 PM (CT).