Kings Get Glimpse of Future Against Blackhawks

Game 66: Blackhawks 3, Kings 2 (OT) Some might see an overtime loss—I see progression.

I had said in the last game recap that I now expect the Kings to beat the bad teams. But I should've also said I expect them to be able to play with anyone. And Wednesday's game certainly supports that opinion.

Chicago has ascended toward the top of the NHL this season. With their young core of players, such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Duncan Keith, they have assembled a phenomenal core.

They are tied with San Jose for points (93 as of Thursday), and are third in goals-per-game average (3.21). They boast the most shots for (34.2) and the least shots against (24.3). Their power play (10th) and penalty kill (sixth) are among the league leaders. For all intents and purposes, the 'Hawks are an elite team.

The Kings also have a solid core of young talent. As of Thursday morning, the Kings are seventh in the league for points (83). Their goals for average (2.94) is also seventh in the NHL. The power play clicks along at a 20.2% pace, good enough for sixth overall. The only area that can be considered a true weakness is their penalty kill, which as of Thursday is 21st in the league. But you consider that it was at the bottom for the first couple months of the season, you can see marked improvement.

These teams are built similarly, so they should match up well. And on Wednesday, they did. Patrick Sharp scored in the first period as Chicago got off to a big start. But L.A. responded in the second period with two quick goals from Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar.

The Kings had their hands full with the Hawks. They were outshot, 43-30. Jonathon Quick stood on his head for much of the game, and continues to amaze. The relentless Chicago attack was like looking into a mirror. Each line has the potential to strike at any moment. And when it got to overtime, I figured it would automatically go to the shootout. Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Kings