Tuesday, February 04, 2014
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Blackhawks maintain mastery of Kings

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[February 04, 2014]  LOS ANGELES  The Chicago Blackhawks got back on track by revisiting a site that was part of their 2013 Stanley Cup run.

Posting their seventh win in eight games against the Los Angeles Kings, including a five-game victory in last season's Western Conference finals, the Blackhawks earned a 5-3 win Monday at Staples Center.

Chicago (34-10-14) lost of five of its previous six games overall. Los Angeles (30-22-6) failed to win despite playing well offensively, adding to the frustration that accompanies its current skid. The Kings lost their fourth game in a row and fell for the ninth time in 10 games.

Winger Patrick Kane had two goals and an assist, defenseman Nick Leddy added a goal and an assist, and goaltender Corey Crawford made 31 saves for Chicago.

Kane learned of the death of his grandfather just prior to the opening faceoff.

"It was a tough day overall," Kane said. "He was one of my great friends growing up, and it was tough to hear that right before the game."


Chicago won for the second time in four games on a road trip that will run through the Olympic break. Center Jonathan Toews and winger Patrick Sharp added two assists each.

The Blackhawks took the lead for good at 3-2 on center Marcus Kruger's sixth goal of the season with 6:09 remaining in the middle period. Kruger deflected a shot in the slot from Leddy, and a second deflection by Kings defenseman Matt Greene ricocheted past Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick.

Chicago added an insurance goal at the end of a man advantage when Leddy hammered home his sixth of the season at 7:01 of the final period.

Kane sealed the victory off another odd-man rush against the Kings' porous defense. Sharp drew the lone assist with 8:51 remaining in regulation.

As the Chicago lead lengthened, the large contingent of Blackhawks fans inside Staples Center roared its approval.

"It was a great start, we had some excitement in our game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was incredible how many Blackhawks fans were here today. I think it really helped us."

The Kings, a preseason favorite to win the Pacific Division, have dropped out of the division-title race and are losing ground rapidly in the playoff race. They lead the ninth-place Coyotes by just four points, with Phoenix holding three games in hand.

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"We've got one game left (before the Olympic break), and we'll plan on playing the best game of the year," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "I'm sure every team could use a break mentally; we're not special. I look forward, not back, and we're as close to winning as we are losing."

The Kings lost in a different manner than in most of the defeats in the current skid. They scored as many goals Monday as they did in their previous six games combined, but they could not match the offensive firepower of the defending Stanley Cup champions.

"The guys are frustrated, but we are sticking together," Kings winger Dustin Brown said. "We made a couple of mistakes. Against a team like that, you can't make them."

Down 2-0 nine minutes into the game, the Kings rallied to tie the score.

Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty scored his eighth of the season on the power play at 9:52 of the first period. The Kings squared things on center Anze Kopitar's 17th goal of the season 6:30 into the middle frame.

The Blackhawks jumped on the Kings by way of a power-play goal in the game's second minute. Kane walked out from the right corner and deposited his team-leading 26th goal past Quick at 1:02, with Toews and Sharp earning assists.

Winger Bryan Bickell doubled the Chicago lead when he fired a wrist shot past Quick at 9:11 off a three-on-one rush. Kane feathered a pass to Bickell for the score that was his 100th point at 8:44.

For Los Angeles, Kopitar had a goal and two assists, winger Tyler Toffoli scored his 10th of the season, and Quick made 25 saves.


NOTES: Chicago scratched D Michael Kostka, D Sheldon Brookbank and C Michal Handzus. ... The Blackhawks are one of four teams that have yet to be shutout this season. The St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks and Colorado Avalanche have lit the lamp in every game as well. ... Los Angeles did not dress D Alec Martinez, D Jeff Schultz and C Jordan Nolan. ... Kings RW Matt Frattin returned to the lineup after four consecutive games as a healthy scratch. He saw a team-low 6:58 of ice time.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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