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Kings Win Second in Row, 6-4 : Future Looks Bright After Victory Over Blackhawks

November 26, 1987|JERRY CROWE | Times Staff Writer

Winning consecutive games for the first time this season brought optimism from Coach Mike Murphy of the Kings Wednesday night.

The Kings extended their unbeaten streak to three games with a 6-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks before a crowd of 12,349 at the Forum.

In their two previous games, the Kings tied Toronto, 6-6, and beat Buffalo, 8-5.

"I'd like to believe we've learned some lessons in the last little while," Murphy said. "We've really been battling and working and earning what we're getting. It makes for a little bit of a momentum swing for us."

For most of the first six weeks of the season, the momentum swung away from the Kings, who were the last team in the National Hockey League to win consecutive games this season.

But in six of their last seven games, the Kings have scored at least five goals.

"I blame myself for our lack of offense early," Murphy said. "We're getting more goals now than early in the season because we were playing uncharacteristically for us. I was making guys commit to defense.

"Now there is more freedom to attack the net. When our team attacks, they create havoc."

Murphy was also pleased with the Kings' forechecking and defensive effort against the Blackhawks' Denis Savard, the NHL's No. 2 scorer.

Savard had two assists, leaving him one shy of 500 for his career, but failed to score a goal on four shots.

Luc Robitaille scored two goals for the Kings, who lifted themselves out of the Smythe Division cellar and ahead of the Vancouver Canucks, who lost Wednesday night to Calgary, 4-2.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks remained tied with Toronto atop the Norris Division, although they've lost their last six road games and are 0-8-1 outside of Chicago Stadium since winning at Detroit Oct. 21.

"It's the same numbers and the same names," Chicago Coach Bob Murdoch said, "but we play a little differently on the road. I don't know whether it's the opposition playing that well or we don't get up for the games quite as much."

Chicago goaltender Bob Mason, who, as a member of the Washington Capitals, lasted into the fourth overtime of a playoff game against the New York Islanders last April before giving up the game-winning goal, stayed around less than 10 minutes against the Kings.

He was replaced by 5-foot 5-inch Darren Pang with 10:02 left in the first period, after Luc Robitaille's shot from the left circle got past him to give the Kings a 3-0 lead.

The Kings, who scored four first-period goals Sunday at Buffalo to chase goaltender Daren Puppa, scored three times in a span of 5 1/2 minutes.

A bouncing shot from the right point by Steve Duchesne gave them a 1-0 lead with 15:33 left in the period.

With 13:01 left, Grant Ledyard skated into the right circle, faked Chicago defenseman Doug Wilson off his feet and beat Mason with a shot that gave Ledyard his first goal of the season.

Meanwhile, the Kings' rookie goaltender, Glenn Healy, blanked the Blackhawks until the final minute of the period.

But with 20 seconds left, and Robitaille off for holding, Healy ventured behind the Kings' net to clear the puck, only to have it slide through his legs to Curt Fraser. He passed in front to Rick Vaive, who had only a chip shot for his 18th goal.

Vaive returned the favor early in the second period, skating through the top of the slot and leaving the puck for Fraser, whose shot from the right circle cut the Kings' lead to 3-2 with 16:44 left in the period.

Jimmy Carson's 17th goal, scored on a rebound of his own shot after taking a nice pass from the blue line by Dean Kennedy, put the Kings ahead, 4-2.

Pang later stopped Dave Taylor on a breakaway, only to have Taylor backhand the rebound over him to make it 5-2 with 6:50 left in the period.

Steve Larmer scored a power-play goal for the Blackhawks, who lead the National Hockey League in power-play efficiency, to cut the Kings' advantage to 5-3 with 4:42 left in the period, but Robitaille again gave the Kings a three-goal lead 5:40 into the third period, stuffing the puck into the net after taking a carom off the backboard.

A backhand shot by Troy Murray, who took a pass from Savard as he skated down the slot, cut the Kings' lead to 6-4 with 10:49 left.

And the assist left Savard one shy of 500 for his career.

King Notes

Luc Robitaille, Jay Wells and Larry Playfair are expected to be among the Kings who will assist in serving Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless today at the Midnight Mission in Los Angeles. . . . A second-period goal by Dave Taylor gave him 814 career points, the most ever by a product of a U.S. college. Taylor graduated in 1976 from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. . . . Interference and holding penalties in the first period gave Robitaille 32 penalty minutes this season--4 more than he had last season in 79 games. . . . Bob Carpenter has a point in 10 straight games. . . . Chicago's Steve Larmer, who has not missed a game since the start of the 1982-83 season, played in his 422nd consecutive game, moving into a tie with Carpenter for 18th place on the all-time National Hockey League list.

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