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HOCKEY

Kings start slow, lose to Blackhawks, 4-2

March 02, 2009|Associated Press

CHICAGO — A fast start helped the Chicago Blackhawks put a timely end to a mini-slump.

Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Dustin Byfuglien scored in the first period, and Antti Niemi made 22 saves in his first NHL start Sunday to give the Blackhawks a 4-2 win over the Kings.

Dave Bolland added a power-play goal with 43 seconds left in the third as the Blackhawks ended an 0-2-1 skid and defeated the Kings for the first time in three games this season. The Blackhawks jumped ahead 2-0 and 3-1 in the first before the Kings closed to 3-2 after 20 minutes.

Anze Kopitar scored and added an assist on Jack Johnson's goal in the third consecutive loss for the Kings.

"We kind of shot ourselves in the foot," Kopitar said. "That first period wasn't good at all. When you fall behind right away, it kind of kills the motivation right off the hop."

Said Kings Coach Terry Murray: "We responded just OK. There's a great need to [have] a lot of desperation right now in our schedule and our games. Getting down makes it really hard, especially in this building.

"They're a great skating team," Murray said of the Blackhawks. "They could be a dangerous team in the playoffs."

Toews has nine goals and four assists in his last eight games, and has taken over the team lead with 26 goals. He scored 24 goals in 64 games last season as a rookie.

Niemi made his NHL debut on Friday, when he relieved Cristobal Huet to start the third period of an overtime loss to Pittsburgh.

Jonathan Quick made 34 saves for the Kings.

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