With the Chicago Blackhawks seemingly headed to a fourth
straight loss, Patrick Sharp came to the rescue, recording his
first hat trick in four years.
It may just have been a warm-up for facing the Los Angeles
Sharp, who has routinely given the Kings fits, looks to lead the
Blackhawks to a seventh straight victory over Los Angeles when they
visit Staples Center on Saturday night.
Chicago (13-7-3) arrived in Southern California for games
against Anaheim and Los Angeles having been outscored 15-4 during a
three-game losing streak. Things immediately looked bleak against
the Ducks on Friday, as the Blackhawks fell behind 2-0 just 2:13
into the game. They trailed 4-2 heading into the third period
before erupting for four goals in less than 10 minutes and hung on
for a 6-5 victory.
“It’s a big win for us because of how things have been going
lately,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “Over the last couple of
games we’ve come up short, but we’ve worked hard. We were all over
the place getting chances, and we knew the breaks would come. I
feel like we are over the hump, but we’ve got to carry that into
Toews, who leads the Blackhawks with 12 goals, had two goals and
three assists and Sharp scored the tying and go-ahead goals in a
2:01 span in the third to complete his hat trick. Sharp’s only
other hat trick came in a 5-3 win over Detroit on Nov. 17,
This might come as a surprise to the Kings (11-7-4), who
probably feel like he has recorded a few against them.
Sharp has 17 goals in 20 career games against Los Angeles. The
only team he has scored more goals against is Columbus, tallying 20
but in 18 more games.
In his last game against the Kings on Jan. 3, Sharp had two
goals in Chicago’s 4-3 victory, giving him eight goals in eight
games at Staples Center since 2007-08.
The Blackhawks have won six straight over Los Angeles since a
2-1 shootout loss on Nov. 28, 2009, and are 9-0-1 in the last 10
While Chicago rallied late to win its last game, the Kings
coughed up a two-goal, third-period lead in Wednesday’s 3-2
overtime loss to Dallas.
Los Angeles was on the verge of winning for the fifth time in
six games but was outshot 13-6 in the third period and allowed the
tying goal with 21 seconds remaining in regulation.
“It’s frustrating,” said Anze Kopitar, tied for the team lead
with 10 goals. “You got a two-goal lead going into the third period
and you couldn’t close it out. They kept coming. You got to give
them credit, they made some plays, but on our part, we just can’t
sit back like that. We got to play our style and keep the foot on
the gas pedal and not back out.”
Mike Richards also has 10 goals, with a majority of his scoring
coming in the last 2 1/2 weeks. He has scored in each of the last
five games and has eight goals in the last eight contests.
Jonathan Quick stopped 35 shots Wednesday to lose his second
straight start following a three-game winning streak. He has been
in net for five losses during the skid to the Blackhawks, and is
2-8-1 with a 2.86 GAA lifetime against them.
Chicago’s Corey Crawford, who has a 4.08 GAA in his last four
games, has posted a 2.00 GAA in winning his three career starts
against the Kings.