Kings offense falls flat in Game 1 loss

Kings offense falls flat in Game 1 loss

June 1, 2013, 9:15 pm
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Nina Falcone

The puck dropped and Game 1 began, and the first 12 minutes of the opening period of the Western Conference Final featured a strong Blackhawks offense and an even stronger goaltender in Jonathan Quick.

The Blackhawks were off to a powerful start, firing a total of 11 shots at Quick before the Kings were even able to get the puck across the ice and into the pads of Corey Crawford.

But Los Angeles' second shot of the afternoon silenced fans inside the United Center, as Kings forward Justin Williams found the back of the Blackhawks' net.

By the end of 20 minutes, the Kings had a 1-0 lead despite being out-shot, 17-2.

[WATCH: Tracy and Boden analyze Game 1]

Coach Darryl Sutter, in his typical fashion, described the way he felt after owning the lead despite the little offensive production: "Fortunate."

But for the Kings, the lead only meant so much after giving their opponent so many opportunities to score.

"To give up that many shots ... it was far too many," Kings center Colin Fraser said following his team's 2-1 loss. "It's no secret to what other team's game plans are. We have Quick in net, they're going to shoot everything. The 17 shots were mainly from the outside. On the flip side, if we start playing our game, [we'll be] chipping pucks more, playing a little more simple and be in the [offensive] zone more and not on our heels and not giving up so many shots."

Once both teams returned to the ice for the second period, it was the Blackhawks' show all over again, as Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa each recorded a goal for Chicago, sending what was a rather dull crowd into a frenzy.

The Kings began to find their feet in the third period after Sutter made a number of line changes, but their improvement came too late as they were unable to get another point on the scoreboard.

"We [played better] in the third, but we put ourselves in a tough position before," Los Angeles center Anze Kopitar said. "We didn't play a very good first half of the game, or first two periods. We have to clean that up and come out stronger."

Last season the Kings steamrolled their opponents as they went through the playoffs, but this year things haven't been going as smoothly for the defending Stanley Cup champions. While Quick played a huge role in his team's successes last year, he's being called upon even more now. His team's offense has struggled since the postseason began and the Kings have won a majority of their games by a one-goal margin.

In 2012, the Kings dropped only one postseason game on the road, but this year they've only won one inside visiting arenas.

[WATCH: Keith, Sharp happy to be out in front after Game 1]

"[Our road record] does surprise me especially after last year. I don't know what the answer is, but we have to be better for sure wherever we're playing," Fraser said. "[The Blackhawks] got the better of us tonight, we probably came out a little bit flat. I think we turned too many pucks over, we gotta get back to a simpler game and try to take their speed away with that. If we start doing that, then we'll get more chances in the offensive zone and hopefully score more goals."

The Kings are ready to put the loss behind them as they prepare for Game 2. A quick turnaround means both teams will be back on the ice together in less than 24 hours, but the Kings aren't making excuses for their little preparation time. 

"It doesn't matter in the fact we're both doing the same thing," Fraser said. "There's no advantage or disadvantage to either team. Maybe it's a good thing to get a turnover quickly and get right back at it and get right back on the horse and go after them."