After stunning the Jets in Winnipeg with two third period goals, the Blackhawks stormed past the Kings at the United Center on Monday night.
The first period ended with the Hawks and Kings tied at one, but there was some concern for Chicago forward Brandon Saad. He was leveled in front of the net late in the period and it appeared his head bounced off the ice. He went to the room, but was able to return for the second period.
Chicago picked up a goal from Bryan Bickell in the first period, his 13th of the season. Saad and Andrew Shaw were credited with the assists, giving Shaw five points in his last five contests. Jake Muzzin scored for the Kings at 19:28 to bring the score even at the end of one.
In the second period, the Blackhawks took control and never let go. Duncan Keith scored a power play goal at 1:37 and Niklas Hjalmarsson added another only 64 seconds later to blow the game open. Even with a two-goal lead, the Blackhawks continued to put pressure on Jonathan Quick; both teams put 13 shots on net in the second, but Scott Darling was perfect in period.
Johnny Oduya played perhaps his most physical game of the year and his best since returning from injury. He led the Blackhawks with four blocked shots and was also credited with three hits in the contest while skating more than 23 minutes. Oduya failed to pick up a point but he was plus-three and was named the game’s second star.
Marian Hossa made a Marian Hossa play at 13 minutes into the third, taking the puck away and extending the Hawks lead to 4-1 with his 22nd of the season. From there, the Hawks defense put the game on lock-down and Darling continued turning the Kings away.
Darling finished the night with 31 saves for his eighth win in 12 appearances in the NHL. In March, Darling has allowed only one goal in more than 160 minutes of action.
Skating in a bottom-six role, Teuvo Teravainen led the Blackhawks with eight shots on net in only 21 shifts (13:29). Bickell and Andrew Desjardins led the Hawks with four hits each, and Hossa had a team-high three takeaways.
The Canucks beat the Blues 4-1 in St. Louis, meaning the win pulls the Hawks within one point of the Blues for second place in the Central Division. Here are the up-to-date playoff races in the Western Conference.