Blackhawks 1, Kings 0

Jerry Bonkowski, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- After scoring 17 goals in their previous three games, the Chicago Blackhawks needed just one goal in Monday's 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center.
Left wing Brandon Saad's goal at 7:05 of the first period stood up for the deciding tally for Chicago (28-7-7) -- which has now won five of its last seven games -- while Los Angeles (25-11-4) dropped its third consecutive game.
Saad was on the receiving end of a perfect crossing pass through the goal crease from fellow left winger Bryan Bickell, resulting in a quick wrist shot by Saad for his 14th goal of the season past an out-of-position Kings goalie Martin Jones.
It was a rare loss for rookie sensation Jones, who came into the game with an 8-1-0 record, a 1.31 goals-against average and three shutouts in his first eight NHL games.
Jones stopped 29 of Chicago's 30 shots, while Blackhawks goalie Antti Raanta stopped all 26 of the Kings' shots.
Los Angeles had a chance to tie the game at 13:22 of the second period when Kings center and left winger Dustin Brown was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked by Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook, but Raanta stopped the wrist shot.
A second potential goal for the Blackhawks at 9:59 of the third period was disallowed. Left winger Patrick Sharp's slapshot caromed off the raised stick of teammate Andrew Shaw and into the Kings' net, but officials ruled Shaw's raised stick, which was about two feet above his head, was illegal.
It was the Blackhawks' second win over the Kings this season, having also captured a 3-1 victory on Dec. 15 at the United Center, and fourth triumph in the last five meetings between the two rivals. The teams play one more time on Feb. 3 in Los Angeles. With Monday's victory, Chicago leads the all-time series with the Kings 83-77-22.
Chicago began its second half of the season while also closed out its December part of the schedule with an 8-3-3 mark, following November's 12-2-1 slate. The Kings visit Dallas on Tuesday night to close out 2013 with a 9-4-0 mark in December thus far.
NOTES: After setting a season-high attendance mark Friday vs. Colorado (22,201), Monday's crowd was 22,161, the second-largest home crowd at the United Center this season. The Blackhawks are just one game from reaching 250 consecutive sellouts, tops in the NHL. ... After struggling for goals early in the season, including an eight-game stretch of three or fewer goals, the Blackhawks came into the Kings game having scored five goals in 18 different games. It's no wonder the Blackhawks entered Monday leading the NHL with 3.73 goals/game and 153 goals scored. ... According to several media reports Monday, Blackhawks G Corey Crawford is likely to return to the lineup either Thursday at the New York Islanders or Friday at the New Jersey Devils. ... Chicago coach Joel Quenneville is closing in on third place in the NHL's all-time wins list for coaches.
Quenneville has 688 wins, four short of tying Dick Irvin (692). ... Kings coach Darryl Sutter is now three games away from 1,000 as an NHL head coach.

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