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02/17/2013 7:49 PM EST
Blackhawks close in on season-opening points mark
CHICAGO 3, LOS ANGELES 2

By MATT CARLSON
Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Blackhawks used a strong start
against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday to keep their strong
start to the season on a roll.



Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews each had a goal and an assist
to help the Blackhawks beat the Kings 3-2, extending their
season-opening points streak to 15 games.



Patrick Sharp also scored for the Blackhawks (12-0-3), who
matched the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers for the second-longest
season-opening points streak in NHL history. Chicago is one away
from the tying the league record set by Anaheim in 2006-07 and
will try to match the mark on Tuesday when it hosts Vancouver.



Mike Richards scored two power-play goals in the third period to
pull the Kings within one after Chicago outplayed the Stanley
Cup champions in the opening 40 minutes and built a 3-0 lead.



But the Blackhawks and goalie Ray Emery hung on.



"The guys wanted to get a good start, a good jump on L.A.,"
Seabrook said. "Ray made the big saves when he needed to."



The Blackhawks' start to the season is beginning to reach
historical proportions in more way than one.



Anaheim won the Stanley Cup in 2007 after its record-setting
points start. The 1984-85 Oilers and Montreal, which opened with
14 straight in 1943-44, also won the Cup in those seasons.



Toews, Chicago's captain, says the Blackhawks aren't getting
ahead of themselves, however.



"We're 15 games into the season," Toews said. "What's important
to us is getting home ice advantage, making the playoffs. Those
are our goals. Once you get there, the real season starts.



"When you get to that point, no one really cares or remembers
those streaks at the start of the season."



Emery, Chicago's backup, made 25 saves. He lost a bid for his
first shutout in more than three years when Richards connected
56 seconds into the third period. Emery made back-to-back starts
for the first time this season with Corey Crawford missing his
second game because of an undisclosed upper-body injury.



And things got a little frantic for Chicago at the end after
Richards notched his second goal - just his fourth this season -
with 7:10 left. The Blackhawks spent the final 1:04 short-handed
after Johnny Oduya was sent off for slashing, and Jonathan Quick
was pulled for an extra attacker during that span.



"I thought we had a great first 40 minutes and they got some
momentum off their power-play goal early in the third," Chicago
coach Joel Quenneville said. "They had a great third period. We
had 40, they had a great 20, and the clock ran out, which was
nice."



Not so for Los Angeles (5-6-2), which has struggled on offense
and with injuries. The only bright spot for the Kings was their
power play, which came in ranked 27th in the NHL before
connecting twice in a game for only the second time this season.



"We probably didn't play well enough to win this game," Richards
said. "The slow start kind of cost us. We gave them a lot in the
first period with penalties and some turnovers and they scored
some goals, which put us behind the eight-ball pretty quick."



Sharp, who led Chicago with 33 goals last season, ended a
10-game drought without a score.



The Blackhawks outshot Los Angeles 37-27 and defeated the Kings
for the second time this season to end Los Angeles' two-game
winning streak. Chicago won 5-2 in the teams' season opener at
Staples Center.



Quick started in goal and finished with 34 saves for the Kings
after backup Jonathan Bernier was in net in Los Angeles'
previous two games.



Chicago was a step faster than the Kings in the first period and
held a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.



Seabrook opened the scoring 6:29 in to cap a Chicago flurry in
the Kings' zone, and after Quick had made several in-close
saves.



Seabrook pinched down to the low edge of the left circle and
took a pinpoint feed from Duncan Keith, who threaded a cross-ice
pass from the top of the right circle. Seabrook then slid a shot
into an open net before Quick could dive across.



Toews' power-play goal 4 minutes later made it 2-0. Stationed in
the slot, Toews first tipped Keith's feed off the right post,
but buried the loose puck before Quick could cover it.



Sharp exploited a Kings coverage breakdown and increased
Chicago's lead to 3-0 just 56 seconds into the second period.
Quick dropped to the ice to block Toews' stuff-in attempt at the
side of the net, but the puck popped into the slot. Sharp was
wide open and fired high into the net before Quick could
recover.



The Blackhawks were in control for most of the second period and
outshot Los Angeles 21-10. But Emery had to make several tough
saves late in the period - including in-close stops on Dustin
Brown and Jeff Carter - to keep the Kings off the scoreboard.



Richards cut it to 3-1 early in the third. With Brown providing
a screen at the edge of the crease, Richards' high shot from the
top of the slot sailed past Emery. Richards' second power-play
goal trimmed it to 3-2 with 7:10 left. This time, he beat Emery
from the top of the left circle with Brown screening.



NOTES: Before the game, Quenneville said Crawford was
"progressing" and is day-to-day. When asked if Crawford's
condition might be long-term, Quenneville replied, "I don't
foresee that yet." Crawford - who has a 7-0-3 record, 1.65
goals-against average and .935 save percentage - has not skated
since sustaining his injury, apparently in a 3-2 shootout loss
to Anaheim last Tuesday.

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