Kings take care of business against Blackhawks – Daily News


The Kings’ Anze Kopitar, left, celebrates with goaltender Cam Talbot after their 6-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night at Arena. Kopitar had two goals and an assist, and Talbot made 22 saves. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — The Kings padded their stats and, more importantly, secured two points, giving them 81 through 68 games, handling the beleaguered Chicago Blackhawks, 6-2.

Less than a week after a 5-0 romp in the Windy City, the Kings returned to L.A. with the Western Conference playoff race coming into clear focus ahead of a three-game homestand.

The first stage of back-to-back games left the Kings third in the Pacific Division standings, five points in front of the Minnesota Wild for the final wild card spot.

The Wild visit Arena on Wednesday night, hoping that Kings captain Anze Kopitar doesn’t make more history.

Kopitar netted a pair of goals and added an assist against Chicago, leaving him one point shy of becoming the 52nd player in NHL history – and the second Kings skater behind Marcel Dionne – to record 1,200 career points.

In 419 fewer games, Kopitar passed Patrick Marleau (the league’s leader in games played at 1,779) on Tuesday, ranking 51st on the league’s all-time points list.

Kopitar’s next point will place him alongside Stan Mikita and Evgeni Malkin as the third player born outside North America to collect 1,200 career points with one franchise.

Joining Kopitar on the score sheet against the last-in-the-Central Division Blackhawks, Alex Laferriere, Vladislav Gavrikov, Phillip Danault and Trevor Lewis bested goaltender Petr Mrazek, thanks in part to three assists from Adrian Kempe.

Kings goalie Cam Talbot denied 22 shots for his 21st win of the season, while Mrazek stopped 18 of the Kings’ 24 attempts.

The Kings (35-22-11) started slow but took a short-lived lead when Lafferiere cleaned up a rebound inside the left circle at 12:03 as the big-bodied Pierre-Luc Dubois occupied space around Mrazek.

Lafferiere’s 11th score of the season was his second in less than a week against the Blackhawks (19-45-5, 43 points), who lost for the 24th time in their past 25 road games.

Unlike their runaway contest last Friday, which saw the Kings tally four first-period goals, the Blackhawks managed to put one on the board early and keep it close for the first 20 minutes.

Down two men after successive penalties seven seconds apart in the 15th minute, the Kings’ league-best penalty kill conceded a deflected shot that bounced off Nick Foligno’s left skate for the visiting winger’s 16th goal of the season.

“All due respect to Chicago, but we’re gonna play some better teams at the end of this stretch, and we can’t give a period away,” Kempe said of the slow start. “It could be a huge, huge difference in the points and all that kind of stuff, so we gotta be on for 60 minutes here.”

Overall, the Kings killed three of Chicago’s four power plays.

Whatever chance the Blackhawks had of hanging around disappeared in the second period.

Assists by Kempe and Kopitar set up Gavrikov’s snap shot from just inside the blue line, which fluttered above Mrazek’s stick at 9:32 for the Russian’s fifth goal of the season and 100th career point.

Kempe’s next assist came when he intercepted a pass from behind the net and fed Kopitar inside the right circle for the Slovenian’s third goal in three games.

The Swede added a third point late in the middle frame, taking a pass from Kevin Fiala and dishing the puck across the front of the Blackhawks’ net, where it bounded off Kopitar for a power-play finish.

Kopitar’s 75th career three-point game was also his 159th multi-point effort at home, breaking a tie with Dave Taylor for the third most in Kings history.

“We were looking for him all third period,” Kempe said about Kopitar, whose grandmother watched him play person for the first time in several years. “He had some good looks. It was close. But obviously we look forward to the next game. It was a close one tonight. He was hot out there.”

Closing out the final period, a beautiful pass from Fiala to Trevor Moore freed up Danault for his 16th of the season.


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