Kings beat Blackhawks 6-3 to halt 10-game losing streak
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Willie Desjardins couldn’t muster up a smile, but the relief among the Los Angeles Kings was visible from their head coach on down after avoiding tying the longest losing streak in team history.
“It has been a long time,” Desjardins said. “And in the end it’s just a way better feeling when you win.”
Dustin Brown scored twice for the Kings, who were at risk of matching an 11-game slide from March 16-April 4, 2004. Ilya Kovalchuk and Brendan Leipsic each had a goal and an assist, and Sean Walker scored a power-play goal. Jonathan Quick made 29 saves.
Chicago trailed 3-0 late in the first period, but rallied in the second. Kempe put Los Angeles ahead for good when he scored off a pass from Jonny Brodzinski at 8:08 of the second.
“The last couple of games, it’s been tight and we haven’t really got a bounce this way. Just kept battling through it and tonight we got a lot of those as a team,” Kempe said. “That’s kind of what we needed to get going here and it was a perfect game. Everybody has to step up the way they did tonight and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Leipsic made it 5-3 on a one-timer from Kovalchuk 4:54 into the third, and Brown got his second goal at 18:07 while playing in his 1,100th career game.
It was the 276th career goal for Brown, passing Butch Goring for sixth-most in Kings history.
Perlini had cut the deficit to 3-2 at 2:06 of the second, with Crawford’s stretch pass setting up his breakaway and sixth goal of the season. Connor Murphy tied it 3-all at 6:57.
The Kings led 3-1 after the first period. Brown and Walker scored power-play goals 2:19 apart early on, and Kovalchuk got his 14th goal at 15:13.
“We didn’t have what we needed, for sure,” Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. “It’s tough when you have to come from behind the whole game. You kind of run out of energy. Right away we’re chasing.”
Perlini scored at 18:46 for his first goal since Jan. 1.
The Kings were able to keep the Blackhawks’ red-hot top line featuring Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews from marking their mark. Kane had a minus-three rating and did not have a point for just the third time in his past 31 games, and Toews was a minus-two.
“You’re not going to keep them quiet all night, but you want to do your best to contain them,” Leipsic said. “They are going to get their chances, so just keep them to a minimum and keep them to the outside and when you do have time to pressure them pressure them. We did a good job on them.”
Brandon Saad played with Toews and Kane after after Drake Caggiula sustained a concussion against Anaheim on Wednesday, and Caggiula’s absence allowed Perlini back into the lineup after being scratched for the previous four games.
NOTES: Quick had a secondary assist on Brown’s first goal, marking the sixth time since 1993-94 that both goalies had an assist in the same game. … Kings C Jeff Carter had two assists. … Kings F Austin Wagner did not play in the third period after sustaining a lower-body injury on a hit by Gustav Forsling.
Blackhawks: Visit San Jose on Sunday night.
Kings: Host Montreal on Tuesday night.