The Chicago Blackhawks have played two fewer postseason games in 2014 and came into Sunday’s eventual Game 1 victory with quite a bit more rest, yet the Los Angeles Kings aren’t using fatigue as an excuse after losing 3-1 today.
Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said that the only time he really noticed a lack of energy was early in the game and during a few other shifts in the first period.
Mike Richards echoed Sutter’s thoughts on that shaky beginning.
“It took us a little bit to get into the game,” Richards said. “I think we were a little bit sloppy in the first. We made some mistakes and they capitalized on them. We didn’t capitalize on our chances.”
Those observations seem reasonable, as you can see (from this chart via Extra Skater) that the Blackhawks started off with the advantage but Los Angeles eventually ended up with more shot attempts as the game went on. They also landed more shots on goal, firing 26 to Chicago’s 20:
Ultimately, the Blackhawks managed to win 3-1 despite arguably a better effort from the Kings. That might seem like a missed opportunity, although it at least inspired someone to use a folksy Sutter-ism after the game:
Fatigue might not have been a big factor in Game 1, yet the Kings find themselves facing yet another series deficit. They’ve shown plenty of fight in these playoffs, but going down 2-0 against the defending champs might just be too much for this team to overcome.