Blackhawks limit miscues, beat Kings

For the second straight game, the Chicago Blackhawks used tight

defense and discipline to beat a team that has been above them in

the standings for most of this season.

Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Fernando Pisani scored, rookie

Corey Crawford made 26 saves and the suddenly focused Blackhawks

held on to beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Sunday night.

Defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago won its second straight,

allowing only one power play after a penalty-free effort Friday

night in a 4-1 victory over Detroit.

”Obviously, it’s the way we expect to play, the way we know we

can play,” Toews said. ”Going into every game, we’ve got to

remind ourselves it’s much more enjoyable when you play the way we

did tonight.”

Toews, the Blackhawks captain, has helped pick up some slack

offensively as Chicago skated again without star forwards Patrick

Kane and Marian Hossa. Toews added an assist Sunday and has four

goals and six assists Chicago’s last seven games.

But team ”D” was on Toews’ mind after the win.

”That was a huge part of it,” he said. ”We were taking away

second opportunities and big scoring chances. We’ve stepped up a

little.”

Crawford started for the ninth time in 11 games for the

Blackhawks, and was sharp when needed.

”We had a good feeling after Detroit and were able to carry

it,” Crawford said. ”We played a solid game tonight, definitely

kept them to the outside and cleared rebounds.”

Kyle Clifford and Wayne Simmonds scored for the Kings, and

Jonathan Quick stopped 21 shots. They lost in regulation for only

the second time in their last eight games (5-2-1).

”I thought we played a pretty good game, but a pretty good game

against these guys is not good enough,” Kings forward Anze Kopitar

said. ”In this league you’ve got to play 60 minutes and that

second period was not even close to what we need to play.

”In the third period we were all over them, I thought. We had

chances. But when you’re chasing down, it’s not easy especially

against these guys.”

Toews scored the only goal in a physical first period,

connecting midway through the frame. He fired a low shot from the

right circle through a screen and just beyond Quick’s outstretched

left pad on the short side.

Clifford tied it at 1:34 of the second, beating Crawford with a

flashy move. Clifford streaked in off left wing, got behind the

defense and scored after faking to his forehand and shooting on his

backhand.

”That was a real power forward play,” Kings coach Terry Murray

said. ”Taking it right to the hole, that’s a brave thing to do and

nice hands as he got close to the net.”

Keith restored Chicago’s lead 25 seconds later on a screened low

shot from the left point with two Kings and two Blackhawks in the

front of the net.

Pisani made it 3-1 with 7:35 left in the second with his first

goal since Nov. 20. He rifled a high shot over Quick from the slot

after Dave Bolland’s centering pass slipped beyond the reach of its

intended target, Bryan Bickell, and onto Pisani’s stick as he

followed up on the play.

Simmonds cut it to 3-2 at 1:20 of the third, just 2 seconds

after a Los Angeles power play elapsed. He chopped a shot over

Crawford from the edge of the crease.

The Kings pressured late, but Crawford was sharp when Los

Angeles was able to generate chances.

Notes: Kane missed his sixth game because of an injured left

ankle. Hossa sat out his ninth game with a lower-body injury, but

has resumed skating. Chicago LW Viktor Stalberg missed his second

game because of an upper-body injury. … Los Angeles played D Matt

Green missed his third game with an upper-body injury and D Willie

Mitchell missed his second because of a lower-body injury. Kings RW

Brad Richardson returned Sunday after missing four games with an

upper-body injury.