Practice didn't necessarily translate into perfect play for the Kings over the weekend, but the result was two consecutive victories for only the second time this season.
The Kings rallied for three goals in the third period Saturday to defeat host Colorado. Then they flew to Chicago and played in front of 21,715, the largest crowd to attend a Blackhawks game in six years, and again were strong at the end, scoring in the final period and in overtime for a 3-2 victory.
After practicing back-to-back days Thursday and Friday -- the first time all month the Kings had that opportunity -- and playing consecutive road games, Coach Marc Crawford had his players back on the ice Monday at the practice facility in El Segundo -- about 11 hours after they landed. The Kings open a six-game homestand tonight against the Blackhawks.
"The reinforcement that practice gives you is pretty important, especially for a young team," Crawford said. "Practice is a place where you can recapture the things and the elements of your game that you need."
Defenseman Rob Blake, the only King born before 1970, said it was important to work on fundamentals after a grueling stretch of games. But he said even a young team needs some down time.
"When you play 16 [games] in 28 days, you need your time off," he said. "It doesn't matter if you're young or old, you're going to feel it."
Dustin Brown scored twice against Chicago, giving him a career high and team-leading 18 goals. The fourth-year right wing has had more scoring opportunities close to the net.
"If you look at my goals this year, a lot of them are within five feet of the crease," he said. "I've been getting a lot of goals on rebounds or bouncing off me, kind of just sticking in the right area."
Crawford, however, said Brown creates many of his scoring chances, a skill that wasn't touted when the Kings took him with their top draft pick in 2003.
"Some of the moves he makes now, one on one challenging the defense, we didn't see that," Crawford said. "He could always skate forward and hit, now he's trying things one on one."
Michael Cammalleri did not practice again and will not be available against Chicago. He injured his ribs during a scuffle Dec. 22 at Nashville. . . . Crawford said goalies Jason LaBarbera and J.S. Aubin would each start one of the next two games, but he would not name tonight's starter. . . . The Kings agreed to terms on a three-year entry-level contract with forward Wayne Simmonds, the team's second-round draft pick last June.
vs. Chicago, 7:30, FSNW
Radio -- 1150.
Site -- Staples Center.
Records -- Kings 14-24-2, Blackhawks 19-15-3.
Record vs. Blackhawks -- 1-1.
Update -- The Kings and Blackhawks played each other Sunday and saw one another again on Monday at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo. Chicago arrived for practice about 15 minutes after the Kings began their workout.