Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Antti Raanta stopped 21-of-22 shots to lead
the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings in a battle
between two of the top teams in the Western Conference.
Marian Hossa, Kris Versteeg and Patrick Sharp scored first period goals for
the Blackhawks, who have won four of five overall.
Alec Martinez lit the lamp for Los Angeles, which saw its six-game winning
streak come to an end.
Ben Scrivens made 37 saves in defeat.
Jonathan Toews created the first Chicago goal when he won a race to the puck
short-handed deep in the LA zone. Toews took it from Jake Muzzin behind the
net and snuck a pass for a charging Hossa, who batted it home for a 1-0 margin
less than six minutes in.
"It was big," Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg said of the early goal. "We
know that they can really sit on leads and really clamp down, so it was big to
get those goals and really play into our hands."
Midway through the first, Versteeg netted the eventual game-winner. Versteeg
led a 2-on-1 rush and faked a pass before wristing his shot past Scrivens.
"Definitely not the start that we wanted," Kings center Anze Kopitar said.
"It's hard when you play catch-up, especially three goals. It's quite a bit to
overcome against that kind of team. It's no secret that we lost the game in
the first period."
As the first period was winding down, Chicago went on a power-play after
Jarret Stoll was called for cross checking. Toews again was in on the action,
faking a shot before sliding a pass to an open Sharp, who blasted it home.
The second period ended without any goals, and Chicago held its shutout until
the final minutes of the game, when Martinez ended Raanta's shutout with his
second goal of the season.
Chicago leads the NHL with 53 points ... The Blackhawks improved to 12-2-4 at
home ... Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane recorded their 28th and 26th assists,
respectively, for Chicago. Both players rank in the top six in the league.