for this game

Quick start helps Blackhawks end four-game skid

Dec 13, 2007 - 5:49 AM
By Rory Spears PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The Chicago Blackhawks struck early and often in ending their four-game losing streak.

Martin Havlat scored a pair of goals and rookie Jonathan Toews added a tally and an assist to lift the Blackhawks to a 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night.

Tuomo Ruutu, defenseman Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp added goals as Chicago earned its first win - and points - this month. The Blackhawks were the only team in the league that had failed to register a point in December.

"We needed to get a win tonight," Havlat said. "Our game plan was to shoot the puck. It didn't matter if we won, 1-0, we needed to get two points."

Nikolai Khabibulin made 25 saves as the Blackhawks posted only their third win against the Kings here in the last seven meetings.

"The guys really answered the challenge and played physical in front of me," Khabibulin said. "We got some timely goals and I think this is a huge win for us."

In need of a victory after losing four straight, Chicago scored three goals in a span of 10:55 in the first period. The Blackhawks had managed just four tallies during their skid but matched that output just over five minutes into the second period.

Los Angeles provided a bit of angst, pulling within a goal at 4-3 when Anze Kopitar scored his 15th of the season at 6:36 of the third period.

However, Chicago regained its two-goal advantage just 42 seconds later. Toews redirected a pass from fellow rookie Patrick Kane over the shoulder of goaltender Jonathan Quick, who had replaced starter Jean-Sebastien Aubin late in the first period.

"We got back within a goal and then we lost a battle and they got it back," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "Toews just outmuscled (Lubomir) Visnovsky in front of the net. Those are the types of battles you have to win."

Toews, who leads all rookies in goals with 12, was credited with the tally after video replay officials checked to see whether he kicked the puck into the net.

"I think when they got within one goal in third period, we got a wake-up call," Toews said. "We were still confident we would finish strong and get the job done, and we did."

Ruutu scored only his third goal since October 20 to give Chicago a 1-0 lead at 3:11 of the first period. The Finn lifted a wrist shot over the shoulder of Aubin from the left faceoff circle.

"We wanted to come out strong and get a win," Ruutu said. "Coming to the rink tomorrow morning will be a lot more fun than it has been after the last four games."

Havlat got his first goal at 13:22 when he wristed a shot off the top of Aubin's right shoulder. He scored from almost the same location as Ruutu.

Less than a minute later, Keith blasted a slap shot along the ice and inside the left goalpost for his fifth of the campaign and a 3-0 lead.

Crawford immediately pulled Aubin and replaced him with Quick. Aubin allowed the three goals on nine shots.

"I tried to change the momentum there," Crawford said. "We needed to get something going."

The game got rough almost immediately after Keith's tally. Ruutu caught Visnovsky with his head down and crunched him with an open-ice hit.

"The hit was one of those things," Ruutu said. "Playing physical is part of my game. We are a tough team to play against when we play physical."

Los Angeles blue-liner Brad Stuart responded by going after Ruutu, and a second fight broke out between the Kings' Derek Armstrong and Chicago's Adam Burish. Armstrong, Stuart and Burish all received game misconducts.

"They had a couple of very big hits that paid dividends in the game," Crawford said. "We had some people ejected, so it's understandable why the game turned out the way it did."

There were 72 minutes in penalties in the opening period.

Los Angeles got on the board at 19:05 of the first. Former Blackhawk Michal Handzus scored his fourth goal on a low wrist shot to cut the deficit to 3-1.

"I would rather have had the two points," Handzus said. "Both teams needed a win tonight, they were just better than us."

Scott Thornton who had an assist on the goal, leveled Khabibulin with a forearm just before the puck entered the net. Chicago's protests were ignored by the referees.

"That happened to me in the last game," Khabibulin said. "Teams are watching the videotapes, then they see how the penalties are being called. If you can get in on the goalie and it works, they will try and use it, too."

The Blackhawks regained a three-goal lead just 5:05 into the second period. Havlat scored his second of the night on a 5-on-3 power play, walking in alone from the right faceoff circle and lifting the puck over Quick and under the crossbar.

"It was great to score the amount of goals that we did," Havlat said. "I think they were a result of how physical we played."

The Kings got within 4-2 when Patrick O'Sullivan netted his sixth goal of the season, beating Khabibulin with a wrist shot from the slot. Khabibulin claimed he was interfered with again and received given a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

"I really didn't say anything (to the referee)," Khabibulin said. "But I am not going to comment anymore, because I will get into nothing but trouble if I do."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    LOS ANGELES 1 1 1 3
    CHICAGO 3 1 2 6 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - TUOMO RUUTU 6 (ADAM BURISH, DAVE BOLLAND) 3:11
    CHI - MARTIN HAVLAT 4 (ROBERT LANG, BRENT SOPEL) 13:22
    CHI - DUNCAN KEITH 5 (PATRICK KANE, PATRICK SHARP) 14:06
    LOS - MICHAL HANDZUS 4 (SCOTT THORNTON, KYLE CALDER)

    Dec 12 11:03 PM


  • NHL
    LOS ANGELES 3
    CHICAGO 6
    3RD PRD: CHI - PATRICK SHARP 14 (JONATHAN TOEWS, DUNCAN KEITH) 17:55

    Kings vs. BlackhawksDec 12 11:00 PM


  • NHL
    LOS ANGELES 3
    CHICAGO 5
    3RD PRD: CHI - JONATHAN TOEWS 12 (PATRICK KANE, PATRICK SHARP) 7:18

    Kings vs. BlackhawksDec 12 10:40 PM


  • NHL
    LOS ANGELES 3
    CHICAGO 4
    3RD PRD: LOS - ANZE KOPITAR 15 (KYLE CALDER, MIKE CAMMALLERI) 6:36

    Kings vs. BlackhawksDec 12 10:39 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    LOS ANGELES 1 1 2
    CHICAGO 3 1 4 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - TUOMO RUUTU 6 (ADAM BURISH, DAVE BOLLAND) 3:11
    CHI - MARTIN HAVLAT 4 (ROBERT LANG, BRENT SOPEL) 13:22
    CHI - DUNCAN KEITH 5 (PATRICK KANE, PATRICK SHARP) 14:06
    LOS - MICHAL HANDZUS 4 (SCOTT THORNTON,

    Dec 12 10:10 PM


  • NHL
    LOS ANGELES 2
    CHICAGO 4
    2ND PRD: LOS - PATRICK O'SULLIVAN 6 (ROB BLAKE) 16:37

    Kings vs. BlackhawksDec 12 10:06 PM


  • NHL
    LOS ANGELES 1
    CHICAGO 4
    2ND PRD: CHI - (PP) MARTIN HAVLAT 5 (JONATHAN TOEWS, DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN)
    5:05 (TWO-MAN ADVANTAGE)

    Kings vs. BlackhawksDec 12 9:43 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    LOS ANGELES 1 1
    CHICAGO 3 3 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - TUOMO RUUTU 6 (ADAM BURISH, DAVE BOLLAND) 3:11
    CHI - MARTIN HAVLAT 4 (ROBERT LANG, BRENT SOPEL) 13:22
    CHI - DUNCAN KEITH 5 (PATRICK KANE, PATRICK SHARP) 14:06
    LOS - MICHAL HANDZUS 4 (SCOTT THORNTON,

    Dec 12 9:16 PM


  • NHL
    LOS ANGELES 1
    CHICAGO 3
    1ST PRD: LOS - MICHAL HANDZUS 4 (SCOTT THORNTON, KYLE CALDER) 19:05

    Kings vs. BlackhawksDec 12 9:16 PM


  • NHL
    LOS ANGELES 0
    CHICAGO 3
    1ST PRD: CHI - DUNCAN KEITH 5 (PATRICK KANE, PATRICK SHARP) 14:06

    Kings vs. BlackhawksDec 12 9:02 PM


  • NHL
    LOS ANGELES 0
    CHICAGO 2
    1ST PRD: CHI - MARTIN HAVLAT 4 (ROBERT LANG, BRENT SOPEL) 13:22

    Kings vs. BlackhawksDec 12 9:01 PM


  • NHL
    LOS ANGELES 0
    CHICAGO 1
    1ST PRD: CHI - TUOMO RUUTU 6 (ADAM BURISH, DAVE BOLLAND) 3:11

    Kings vs. BlackhawksDec 12 8:43 PM