CHICAGO (AP) — Defensemen Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson scored 1:04 apart in the second period, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Monday.
Marian Hossa added a goal and an assist as the Blackhawks won their second straight game in as many nights and pulled within a point of the second-place Blues in the Central Division. Chicago plays St. Louis twice in its final six games.
Jake Muzzin scored for the defending champion Kings, who dropped their second straight in the finale of a five-game road trip. They also lost ground to Calgary in their bid for the final playoff berth in the West.
With Chicago coming off a dramatic 4-3 win at Winnipeg on Sunday, Scott Darling subbed for starting goaltender Corey Crawford and made 31 saves.
Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick stopped 36 shots. He was pulled after allowing two goals on nine shots in the first period of Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the surging Wild.
The Western Conference rivals met at the United Center for the first time since Los Angeles eliminated Chicago in overtime in Game 7 of last year’s conference finals. The Kings went on to knock off the New York Rangers for their second Stanley Cup in three years.
Chicago had to settle for a 1-all tie after 20 minutes.
Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell opened the scoring at 5:31 on a deflection from the edge of the crease, capping Brandon Saad’s flashy setup. Saad swooped behind the net from the left to right side, cut through the right circle to the slot, and then dished to Bickell, who netted just his third goal in his last 21 games.
Chicago had chances to extend its lead in the first, but Muzzin’s soft goal with just 32 seconds left in the period tied it at 1. His spinning shot from the left boards skipped in between Darling’s pads.
But the Blackhawks responded in the second.
Keith’s power-play goal on a knee-high drive through a screen from the top of the slot made it 2-1 at 1:37. Moments after Patrick Sharp’s shot glanced off the crossbar, Hjalmarsson pounced on a failed clearing attempt for the Kings and ripped a rising shot past Quick’s glove at 2:41 for his 100th NHL point.
About a minute later, Quick stopped Teuvo Teravainen on a breakaway.
Darling came up with a couple of tough saves to help Chicago preserve its momentum, including a point-blank stop on Drew Doughty with about 5 minutes left in the second.
Hossa put it away with his 22nd goal with 6:54 left in the third. He ripped a rising shot past Quick’s glove side from the left circle.
NOTES: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said star F Patrick Kane is making “excellent progress” as he rehabs from surgery for a broken collarbone. Kane, who has resumed skating on his own, has 27 goals and 64 points in 61 games. … Blackhawks Fs Daniel Carcillo and Joakim Nordstrom sat out with upper-body injuries. … Kings F Jarret Stoll (upper body) missed his ninth game. … Apollo 13 commander James Lovell was one of the three U.S. military veterans on the ice for the national anthem.
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