Kings Reign Over Blackhawks

Amanda Gobel looks over damage to her trailer house in Garland County near Hot Springs, Ark., Thursday, March 9, 2006, after a large tree was blown onto it smashing the kitchen during a storm earlier in the day.

Goaltender Jamie Storr was the difference for the Los Angeles Kings particularly in the third period when his teammates were outshot 23-1 by the Chicago Blackhawks.

"They came hard because we weren't working hard," Kings center Bryan Smolinski said following Tuesday night's 3-2 victory their 10th in a row over Chicago. "Give credit to them. They threw everything they had at us in the third, but it wasn't enough."

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  • Smolinski and Vladimir Tsyplakov scored 38 seconds apart in the first period and Donald Audette got his eighth goal in the third. Garry Galley had two assists for the Kings, who improved the NHL's best record to 12-4-4 under first-year coach Andy Murray.

    Los Angeles is 8-1-2 in its last 10 games. The best 11-game stretch by the Kings last season was 8-2-1, from Dec. 20-Jan. 14, but it didn't translate into a playoff berth.

    "We are deserving of our position right now in the standings," Murray said. "We worked hard to get there. We won a game we didn't deserve to win, but I don't want to tear my team apart tonight."

    The Blackhawks began a seven-game trip with their fourth loss in five games. They went 1-for-8 on the power play despite the return of center Alexei Zhamnov, who missed three games because of a groin injury.

    "It was a situation where we put ourselves behind the 8-ball, and that's a long way to come back against a team like that," Blackhawks coach Lorne Molleken said. "We need to look deep inside ourselves and find a way to get out of this."
    Storr turned aside Chicago's first 27 shots before Eric Daze converted a rebound of Michael Nylander's shot under Storr's left leg with 9:24 remaining. It was Daze's seventh goal in 15 games this season.

    Tony Amonte scored with 59 seconds left on a Blackhawks power play, extending his goal-scoring streak to four games. Amonte nearly tied it with 7.6 seconds left, but Storr pressed his left leg pad against the right post to preserve the victory.

    "I don't think we deserved to beat that team," said Kings center Ian Laperriere, who didn't get a shot on net despite playing nearly 18 minutes. "They came here and were ready to play hard. They played harder than us, but Jamie stepped up his game."

    Storr is 5-0-1 this season, but his performance hasn't surprised his teammates. Last season, he made a career-high 10 consecutive starts while Fiset was on the sidelines with an injured groin and was 7-3-0.

    "If Steph was in the nets, I think the outcome would be the same," Storr said. "It's nice to have two goalies who can play and are healthy, because you need two guys all year. Steph's getting close; and when he gets back, it'll be a huge pickup for our team."

    Tsyplakov opened the scoring at 7:05 of the first period, converting a rebound for his third goal of the season after goaltender Steve Passmore stopped Rob Blake's one-timer from the right point.

    Moments later, Glen Murray's centering pass into the slot hopped off the stick of defenseman Anders Eriksson 10 feet from the net and Smolinski flipped his sixth goal over Passmore's glove hand.

    The Kings scored their third goal when Galley faked a slapshot at the left point and fed it along the boards to Audette, whose wrist shot from the left circle snuck between defenseman Sylvain Cote's skates and through Passmore's pads with 8:33 remaining.

    "We got off to a slow start, and it's tough to come back from three goals against," Chicago defenseman Bryan McCabe said. "We played pretty hard in the third, but their goalie was the difference."

    The Kings have outscored Chicago 35-14 since they last lost to the Blackhawks 3-2 on Feb. 1, 1997, in Los Angeles. Tuesday's victory helped the Kings equal their longest unbeaten streak ever against Chicago, which ran from March 3, 1979, though March 23, 1981.

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