From 2010 until 2015, the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks won five Stanley Cup titles in six years. They faced each other in back-to-back Western Conference Finals in 2013 and 2014, the winner of the series going on to assert itself as the class of the NHL.
They possessed some of the best young talent in the league, Jonathan Toews versus Anze Kopitar at center, Duncan Keith against Drew Doughty on the backline, and in goal Corey Crawford literally sparring with Jonathan Quick.
On Friday night, the two teams met in Chicago, seemingly a shell of their former selves. Both teams had already fired their coaches earlier this season with both teams getting off to slower starts than expected.
Neither team asserted themselves in the game, as they combined to score two goals after three periods and one five minute overtime.
It is not surprising, though, as LA have scored the fewest goals in the league, with the Blackhawks scoring the third least in the NHL
Tyler Toffoli put the Kings on the board first with a great individual effort in the second period. The Blackhawks answered back minutes into the third period when Brandon Saad tied the score at one.
Cal Petersen shines in start
The highlight of the night, however, was the Cal Petersen’s first career NHL start, who is considered the goalie of the future for the Kings, and he played like it.
Petersen was pressed into service when veteran Peter Budaj was hit with an illness; goalie coach Bill Ranford serving as his emergency back-up.
The game was all in Petersen’s hands and he passed the test with flying colors, saving 34 of 35 shots and was untouched in the shootout after a scoreless overtime.
Thanks to shootout goals by Ilya Kovalchuk and Kopitar, the Kings got a much needed 2-1 victory.
The win ended a three game losing streak for the Kings and started their three game road trip on good footing.
Petersen summed up the win best saying, “Just for it to end like that is really special. Probably the most fun hockey game of my life.”
Next is the best team in the West the Nashville Predators, a 5:00 PM puck drop, which means another huge test for Petersen. Hopefully he continues to flash the promise of his future status as the Kings number one.