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|Los Angeles Kings right wing Brian Willsie battles Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews for the puck during the first period on Wednesday night. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)|
Chicago scored three 1st period goals and went on to whip Los Angeles 6-3 to snap a four-game skid Wednesday at the United Center.
The Blackhawks' top scorer last season, Martin Havlat, notched two goals to boost his season total to five in his 7th game after coming back from an opening game shoulder injury to pace the team. Havlat just missed his 5th career hat trick in the final minute on a partial breakaway.
The Hawks got balanced scoring from three different forward lines in the opening period. Tuomo Ruutu scored his 6th of the campaign at 3:11 when he fired a 25-footer into the upper left corner of the net. He was set up on a pass from Adam Burish, who picked up his 1st NHL point.
Havlat made it 2-0 at 13:32 when he took a pass from Robert Lang and fired a shot off the shoulder of goalie Jean-Sebastien Aubin.
The Hawks added their third of the game 34 seconds later when Patrick Kane set up defenseman Duncan Keith whose 20-footer went off Aubin's skate for his 5th goal. Kings' coach pulled Aubin for rookie goalie Jonathan Quick following the tally.
The Kings cut the lead in the final minute of the period when former Hawk Michal Handzus knocked a rebound past goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.
In the 2nd period, Havlat made it 4-1 while the Hawks had a two-man advantage on a power play as he fired a shot over Quick's shoulder.
Los Angeles again trimmed the margin at 16:37 when Patrick O'Sullivan poked Rob Blake's rebound through Khabibulin's pads.
The Kings' top scorer, Anze Kopitar, made it a 4-3 game at 6:36 of the final period when his 35-footer caught the lower left corner for his 15th goal.
|Los Angeles Kings right wing Brian Willsie cannot get his stick on the puck as Chicago Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin kicks it free during the first period on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)|
Patrick Sharp wound up the scoring with his team high 14th goal at 17:55 on a partial breakaway.
It was the third time this season that the Hawks have scored 6 goals -- matching last season when they hit at least six on three occasions.
The top two NHL rookie scorers, Toews and Kane, added to their totals. Toews added two assists plus his goal, which is tops among first year players with Kane adding two assists to pad his leading rookie point total.
Sharp also had two assists for the night.
Hawks coach Denis Savard called Ruutu his best forward of the night and praised Khabibulin for making key saves when the team needed him.
Late in the 1st period Ruutu and Burish got major penalties for fighting with Kings players Derek Armstrong and Brad Stuart. Burish, Armstrong and Stuart were all given game misconduct penalties.
The Hawks outshot the Kings 36-28.
The Hawks head to Buffalo Saturday to face the Sabres in Kane's hometown and will return Sunday to the United Center to battle the Florida Panthers (6 pm).
AP Notes: Veteran Blackhawks forwards Yanic Perreault and Sergei Samsonov returned after sitting out two games as healthy scratches. ... Chicago D Dustin Byfuglien posted an assist, and has five goals and five assists in seven games. ... Blackhawks C Jason Williams missed his sixth straight game and 10th of 11 due to a groin injury. He is out indefinitely. RW Rene Bourque missed his ninth game with a broken thumb. ... Kings LW Alexander Frolov sat out his 10th game with a groin injury, and LW Ladislav Nagy missed his third (hip flexor).
Head coach Marc Crawford: “They had a couple of really big hits that I think made a big difference in the game. The hit that Ruutu threw on Visnovsky, obviously it was a momentum hit and the other kid, Byfuglien, he made the big hit on Ivanans. I thought that we had a number of our players that responded the way that we should have but not all of them. You need everybody to respond and battle in these physical type of games.
"We got it to 4-3 and Visnovsky got out-muscled in the corner by the young kid Toews and those are the types of battles that you need to win. I’m a proponent of if you win battles in the game, you win battles for loose pucks; as defensemen sometimes your battle level is wanting to make the play and we didn’t have enough of that tonight. We had five forwards who played pretty well tonight. And then we had a number of people ejected. It’s understandable why the game went the way it did from the standpoint of injuries and getting thrown out of the game, but it’s not that we didn’t have everybody battling as hard as they needed to."
Defenseman Tom Preissing: "I thought it was a pretty tough night because we spotted them a 3-0 lead and tried to play catch up the rest of the night. I think we were still fine at that point in the game. We missed those guys but we had guys picking up the slack. These guys have a lot of talent up front and they certainly showed that tonight."