INGLEWOOD, Calif. - It's become quite apparent to every team in the NHL. These are not the same Los Angeles Kings that missed the playoffs in each of the previous four seasons.
The Chicago Blackhawks are certainly aware of that. Their offense has failed to score a goal in their last 134 minutes and 40 seconds against the Kings, who beat them 3-0 Saturday behind Stephane Fiset's 12th career shutout.
"This was one of our best games," Fiset said after earning his second shutout of the season with 21 saves. "Every shot they took was coming from the side and the guys were there all the time to clear the rebounds. I think I had maybe one hard save to make today, and that was in the first period."
The shutout was the Kings' third of the season and second against the Blackhawks whose previous shutout loss against Los Angeles was on Feb. 1, 1991. Jamie Storr earned his first in the NHL with 32 saves on Dec. 22 at the United Center.
"They pretty much dominated the entire game," Chicago defenseman Gary Suter said. "They did some very good forechecking and bottled us up. They did to us what we wanted to do to them, and we spent more time in our end than we wanted to. They're a big, strong team that skates well, and they're well coached."
Glen Murray extended his goal-scoring streak to four games and Russ Courtnall had a shorthanded goal. Sandy Moger added his seventh to help the Kings stretch their longest unbeaten streak of the season to seven games (6-0-1).
The Kings have won five consecutive home games for the first time since the 1992-93 season, when they won 12 in a row en route to their only Stanley Cup final.
"I would say we're a confident team, but not an overconfident one," Courtnall said. "We've been feeling really good physically, and we've been coming to each game fully prepared to play well."
Courtnall opened the scoring 11 1/2 minutes into the game with his fourth goal of the season during a cross-checking penalty to teammate Luc Robitaille, who slammed Chicago defenseman Eric Weinrich face-first into the boards as he played the puck behind the Blackhawks' net.
Courtnall stripped Chris Chelios of the puck at the left point in the Kings' zone, just as the Blackhawks' All-Star defenseman got a pass from Suter. Courtnall then raced across the Chicago blue line and beat Andrei Trefilov low to the stick side from the top of the right circle for the Kings' second shorthanded goal of the season.
"I saw that Chelios was going to get the puck and he was standing still," Courtnall said. "So I jumped on him, he bobbled the puck and I got it past him."
Three of Courtnall's four goals this season have been game-winners. He signed with the Kings as a free agent on Nov. 7.
The Blackhawks, who started the season 0-7 and were trying to go over the .500 mark for the first time, surrended goals by Moger and Murray less than three minutes apart in the second period and wee outshot 25-9 over the first 32 minutes.
Moments after Kings defenseman Doug Zmolek stopped a clearing pass in the Chicago zone by pinching along the right boards inside the blue line, Moger converted a pass from behind the net from Ian Laperriere for a 2-0 lead.
Murray added his 16th goal at 5:54 of the second, after tight forchecking by Jozef Stumpel made rookie left wing Jean-Yves Leroux cough up the puck deep in the Chicago zone. Murray got it and dodged a check from defenseman Keith Carney before putting a 10-foot backhander along the ice to Trefilov's stick side.
But the highlight of the afternoon for the sellout crowd of 16,005 came between the first and second periods, when the Kings honored play-by-play announcer Bob Miller for his 25 years behind the microphone. Among those attending the ceremony were Vin Scully, who has spent the past 48 years broadcasting the Dodgers, and Chick Hearn, who has broadcast all 38 Lakers seasons in Los Angeles and who recommended Miller for the Kings job to then-owner Jack Kent Cooke in 1973.
Miller, 59, also was given a lifetime contract to continue broadcasting Kings games by club president Tim Leiweke, who announced that the press box in the Staples Center the future home of the Kings and Lakers would be named after Miller. The press room will be named after Hearn.
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