Here's the amazing thing: the same refs who did such a shoddy job last night were the same refs out on the ice tonight.
The two games couldn't have looked more different. The Ducks game last night looked like a free-for-all brawling pond hockey match; the Kings game was downright - dare I say it - civilized. Ok, mostly civilized - Eager didn't need to get into fisticuffs so late in the third period; that was pointless. But for the most part, neither side rose to the occasion when little scuffles came up earlier in the game.
Coach Q probably gave them quite the pep talk overnight, getting them to shake it off and focus on the road ahead. And that's the best they can do; they certainly can't replay the games that are over.
Seabrook was out tonight; hopefully he won't miss too many games.
The Blackhawks we saw tonight was the team we got all psyched up about before the Olympic break: clean play, fast footwork, lots of passing, good teamwork. After the first period was 0-0, Troy Brouwer scored for a 1-0 lead, and although the Kings played hard, the boys from Chicago played harder - with Tomas Kopecky putting two more in the net in the third period for the Blackhawks to win 3-0. (On a side note, it was only the second time this season LA has been shut out.)
Niemi racked up his fifth shutout of the season. Hyvä suomalainen maalivahti! With Huet out with flu, chances are good we'll see Niemi again on Saturday, but never really know til the game rolls around.
Phew. These West Coast games leave one all jacked up on adrenalin just in time for bed. Great job, guys! Keep it up!