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Blackhawks one shy of tying record after beating Kings

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO - They may play on cold ice, but the Chicago Blackhawks just keep burning up the NHL.

Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews each scored a goal to lead Chicago to a 3-2 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Sunday afternoon at United Center.

After enjoying a comfortable 3-0 lead heading into the third period, the Blackhawks turned back a late rally by the Kings to improve to 12-0-3.

Not only does Chicago remain undefeated in regulation play this season, it can tie the NHL record (Anaheim, 16 points to start the 2006-07 season) for most games with a point to start a season with a win Tuesday against one of the its toughest rivals, the Vancouver Canucks.

"It was nice to get the win," Seabrook said. "We came out hard and the guys wanted to get a good start, get a good jump on L.A., and I thought we played well to start the game and got some goals early. Ray (Emery) played well and got the big saves when he needed to. I thought it was a real team effort."

Indeed, Emery once again was outstanding in goal, turning back 25 of 27 Kings shots and improving his own personal record on the season to 5-0-0. It was Emery's second straight start in place of Corey Crawford, who continues to be sidelined by an upper body injury.

Admittedly, there was a breakdown in Chicago's power-play killing unit in the third period, as Mike Richards scored a pair of goals on the man advantage opportunity for the Kings (5-6-2). They were Richards' third and fourth goals of the season.

"I thought we had a great first 40 minutes, and they got some momentum off their power play goal early in the third, and they had a great third period," Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had 40 and they had a great 20, but the clock ran out and that was nice."

The Kings were poised for yet another scoring opportunity on the power-play in the final minute of the game. This time, however, Chicago rose to the occasion and killed both the penalty and the Kings' comeback hopes. Chicago improved to 81-76-22 all-time against the Kings.

"We probably didn't play well enough to win this game," Richards said. "The slow start kind of cost us.

"We gave them a lot in the first period with penalties and some turnovers, and they scored some goals, which put us behind the eight-ball pretty quick. We have to give them credit. They're a great hockey team. (Right) off the start we weren't ready to play."

It was Chicago's second win over the Kings (5-6-2) in a month, having won the season opener for both teams 5-2 at Los Angeles on Jan. 19.

Los Angeles looked out of it at the start of the game, both offensively and defensively, and Chicago took immediate advantage, getting off the game's first six shots. The Blackhawks finally hit paydirt at 6:29 of the first period on Seabrook's second goal of the season.

Duncan Keith, who had two assists in the game, fed Seabrook a perfect cross-ice pass, and all Seabrook had to do was flick it past out-of-position Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who did not live up to his surname at all.

It didn't help that Quick lost his stick in a scramble just before Seabrook's goal, something that Kings coach - and former Blackhawks star player and coach - Darryl Sutter found fault with.

"I didn't like the Seabrook goal, being that our goaltender should have been allowed to have his stick," Sutter said. "It got pushed away and it should have been a penalty.

"The shorter referee was standing right there by our bench; the other guy couldn't see it, but the shorter one had the same view that I did and he should have made the call. We shoved his stick to him and they shoved it away; it shouldn't be a goal. That's my excuse on the first goal."

Just over four minutes later and on the power play after the Kings were whistled for too many men on the ice, Toews nailed his seventh goal of the season (assists to Keith and Seabrook) to make a 2-0 Chicago edge.

Seabrook was taken to the dressing room with less than five minutes to play in the first period, having crumpled to the ice after getting hit in the left knee on a slapshot by the Kings' Drew Doughty. He returned later in the second period, however.

Chicago kept up the barrage when Sharp pounced on a rebound and buried it past Quick just 56 seconds into the second period to make it a commanding 3-0 lead.

NOTES: A crowd of 21,843 attended, making for Chicago's 195th consecutive sellout at home, the longest active streak in the NHL. ... Chicago's next game is Tuesday against the visiting Vancouver Canucks, while Los Angeles pays at Edmonton on the same night. Following Wednesday's game at Calgary, the Kings play 13 of their next 16 games at home.
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