Dustin Brown’s Hat Trick Leads Kings Past Chicago
LOS ANGELES (AP) Dustin Brown scored three goals in an early 15-minute stretch and matched his career high with four points in an impressive response to trade rumors, and Jonathan Quick earned his NHL-leading seventh shutout in the Los Angeles Kings’ 4-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.
After two first-period, power-play goals, Brown completed his natural hat trick with a short-handed goal less than five minutes into the second. The Los Angeles captain’s third career hat trick and Quick’s 19 saves overshadowed Jeff Carter’s solid debut with the Kings, who snapped a four-game skid with their third victory in 11 games.
Defenseman Willie Mitchell had a goal and an assist in his first game since getting a two-year, $7 million contract extension from the Kings.
Corey Crawford allowed four goals on 10 shots before leaving for the Blackhawks, whose power-play slump grew to 0 for 39 after six scoreless chances in their 13th consecutive game without a man-advantage score.
The Kings acquired Carter from Columbus on Thursday, and the NHL’s lowest-scoring team was widely rumored to be shopping Brown, who has spent his entire career in Los Angeles. After expressing his desire to stay with the Kings, Brown emphatically emerged from his offensive slump along with Jarret Stoll, who matched his career high with three assists.
While the Kings’ offensive woes abated for a night, they got more spectacular play from Quick, who posted his 21st career shutout. The All-Star goalie matched the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist for the NHL lead in shutouts this season with several outstanding saves.
The Blackhawks played their third straight game without captain Jonathan Toews, who is home in Chicago after an apparent concussion. Toews also crashed his car on the way to the United Center on Thursday, but coach Joel Quenneville thinks he could return next week along with defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who sat out again after recently returning from a seven-game absence with an apparent concussion.
Rookie Slava Voynov stepped into the lineup spot vacated by Kings defenseman Jack Johnson, who was traded to Columbus for Carter. The goal-scoring forward played an active, aggressive game on a line with Mike Richards, his longtime teammate and occasional linemate during their years together in Philadelphia.
Midway through the first period, Brown finished up Stoll’s rush by winging a deflected shot past Crawford’s glove for his second goal in three games following an 11-game drought.
After Chicago failed to score during a 3 1/2-minute power play, including 29 seconds of 5-on-3 play, Brown impressively controlled a rebound of Alec Martinez’s shot from the point and flicked it past Crawford for the 20th multigoal game.
Brown completed the hat trick by slipping away during a Chicago power play, beating Crawford low for his first hat trick since April 1, 2010 – which was also the Kings’ last hat trick at Staples Center.
Mitchell chased Crawford with his fourth goal of the season on a pass from Brown.
Viktor Stalberg had the Blackhawks’ two best scoring chances on Quick, but he missed with a high backhand on a clean breakaway in the second period and then couldn’t put the puck into a fairly open net on a 2-on-1 break with 4 1/2 minutes to play.
NOTES: Chicago C Brendan Morrison was a healthy scratch, sitting out for the seventh time in nine games. D Steve Montador missed his ninth straight game with an undisclosed upper body injury. … Anze Kopitar left the ice holding a towel to his nose and mouth after a nasty collision with Chicago C Dave Bolland away from the puck early in the second period, but the Kings’ leading scorer returned a few minutes later. … Wayne Gretzky and former Buffalo coach Ted Nolan attended the game.