LOS ANGELES—From the ”Miracle on Manchester” to two Stanley Cup wins, longtime Los Angeles Kings broadcaster Bob Miller(and Chicago native) has called plenty of memorable home games. Drew Doughty gave Miller one final thrilling moment to describe in his last home game.Doughty scored 27 seconds into overtime, leading the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Saturday.
”We have a lot of pride playing for this organization and obviously Bob has been a big part to the organization for a long time,” Doughty said. ”To get a win for him and for the team and for the fans as well feels good.”
It seemed as if the highlight of the afternoon would be video tributes and messages to Miller from luminaries of hockey and Hollywood before the Kings launched a thrilling third-period comeback.Dustin Brown scored with 55 seconds remaining and Tyler Toffoli added a power-play goal for the Kings, setting the stage for Doughty’s winner when he got a step on Patrick Kane and finished off Jeff Carter‘s pass.
”I just had to beat my guy up ice and Jeff made the easy backhand pass,” Doughty said. ”It was a great play and that was a pretty cool matchup. Six really top players in the league, so it was a lot of fun.”
Jonathan Quick made 25 saves. Carter and Anze Kopitar each had three assists.Artemi Panarin and Jonathan Toews scored and Corey Crawford made 23 saves for the Blackhawks, who will head into the playoffs on a four-game losing streak. However, the Hawks had already locked up home-ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. The Blackhawks were also able to use the past week to rest players ahead of their push for a third Stanley Cup title in the last five seasons.
”Regardless of the results the last few games here on the road I think we like where our team is at,” Toews said. ”We like how everyone is feeling. We’re excited to go forward next week.”
The Hawks had a chance to set a franchise record for road wins in a season, and seemed to have that 25th victory away from United Center locked up when Panarin scored his 31st goal of the season with 6:07 remaining, only for Kopitar to find Brown on the backdoor in the final minute to send Staples Center into hysterics.It also continued Los Angeles’ recent streak of dramatic sendoffs following the exits of Lakers great Kobe Bryant and Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully.Scully delivered the most poignant message to Miller, saying the newly retired legendary Los Angeles voices should spend some time together, while Wayne Gretzky and former Kings coach Barry Melrose also saluted Miller.Kopitar admitted his focus drifted toward the video board at times during breaks in the action.
”You don’t want to get caught staring, but I took a peek,” Kopitar said.
Los Angeles warmed up in special No. 44 jerseys, recognizing Miller’s 44 years as the play-by-play voice of the Kings.Miller will call the final game of his Hall of Fame career Sunday at Anaheim, a fitting end given his vital role in helping grow the sport of hockey across Southern California.
NOTES—After resting several notable players against Anaheim on Thursday, C Artem Anisimov and D Niklas Hjalmarsson were the most prominent absences for Tte Blackhawks who scratched D Michal Kempny, LW Andrew Desjardins, LW Tomas Jurco, D Michal Rozsival and LW Vinnie Hinostroza. … Kane, Panarin and Richard Panik played in all 82 games for the Blackhawks this season….The Blackhawks will open the playoffs at home against the Nashville Predators Thursday night 7:05pm at the United Center..