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A Goal Per Game Is Just Fine With Klatt

Not known for offense, he scores twice in 33 seconds in the Kings' 4-2 win at Chicago, giving him three goals on trip.

October 13, 2003|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

CHICAGO — Trent Klatt, offensive force?

Known more for his physical play that was as endearing to Vancouver Canuck fans as it was effective on the ice, Klatt signed with the Kings during the off-season with the understanding he'd be given a chance to score more often.

Klatt obviously took the offer seriously, scoring two goals in the Kings' 4-2 victory Sunday over the Chicago Blackhawks in front of an announced crowd of 11,947 at the United Center.

Klatt now has three goals in as many games, a statistic welcomed by the Kings and lamented by Canuck fans who bemoaned the loss of the popular player before the ink was dry on the two-year, $2.2-million contract he signed in July as an unrestricted free agent.

Klatt scored a career-high 24 goals with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1996-97, but he has averaged 11.3 goals a season since. He jumped at the opportunity to score more after talking with King Coach Andy Murray.

"They said they were going to give me the chance," Klatt said. "The proposal of that to playing the fourth line in Vancouver, you tell me what you would do."

Klatt was supposed to be on the Kings' top line with Jason Allison and Adam Deadmarsh, but it is unknown when those two will return from injuries they sustained last season. Allison has a whiplash injury, Deadmarsh post-concussion syndrome.

But Klatt, 32, has jelled nicely with Luc Robitaille and Derek Armstrong, now the Kings' No. 2 line.

After Lubomir Visnovsky gave the Kings a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal 16:20 into the first period, Klatt scored twice in a 33-second span of the second period to give the Kings a comfortable 3-0 lead.

At 8:33, he scooped up a rebound from Tim Gleason's shot, walked in untouched and moved the puck from his backhand to his forehand to beat Chicago goaltender Jocelyn Thibault.

Klatt then scored after Robitaille's shot from the point trickled through Thibault's legs and edged toward the goal line. Klatt was there to bang it in a split second before it might have crossed the goal line by itself.

Robitaille's loss was Klatt's gain. The Kings won't argue after going 2-1 on their first trip despite having Allison, Deadmarsh and defensemen Mattias Norstrom and Aaron Miller on injured reserve.

Their record would have been even better had they not allowed a game-winning goal to Detroit Red Wing center Steve Yzerman with 1.7 seconds left in Thursday's season opener.

"We certainly should have had points in all three games," Murray said. "But I'd rather come home with four points than without any."

Coming away with two points against Chicago appeared to be a formality with a three-goal lead until the Blackhawks, who scored once in their first two games, closed to within 3-2 on power-play goals by Mark Bell and Kyle Calder.

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