LOS ANGELES (AP) - Having Luc Robitaille, Jeremy Roenick and Derek Armstrong on the same line might be just the kind of tweaking the Los Angeles Kings need to become a force in the NHL's Western Conference.
Robitaille scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period on an assist from Roenick, Alexander Frolov had a goal and an assist, and the Kings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 Saturday night for their fifth straight home victory.
Playing his third game and first one at home after missing the previous nine with a fracture in his right leg, Robitaille put Los Angeles ahead to stay at 17:24 of the second period. He got the puck from Roenick while crossing the blue line and beat Nikolai Khabibulin between the pads from the edge of the crease for his 658th career goal and fifth this season. It was his 547th with the Kings, three shy of Marcel Dionne's franchise record.
``We're a brand new line and we're just starting to learn each other,'' Robitaille said. ``I think if we keep playing together like that, we're going to find each other on the ice. When you play with guys like that you know they can always make a play - even if they're covered. So it's fun for a guy like me because it gives me an extra second to get open.''
Pavol Demitra also scored and Mathieu Garon made 25 saves, helping the Kings beat Chicago for the fourth straight time. Mark Bell and Kyle Calder scored for the Blackhawks.
Kings left wing Ryan Flinn, just called up from Manchester of the American Hockey League, was carried off on a stretcher and taken to County USC Medical Center for observation after his head struck the ice during a fight with defenseman Jim Vandermeer at 9:08 of the first period.
The game was delayed 8 minutes while the Kings' medical staff attended to Flinn, who got in the most punches during the brawl and at one point knocked Vandermeer's helmet off. Flinn's helmet came off a split-second before the combatants fell to the ice simultaneously. He was cut in the fall but never lost consciousness, and according to a team spokesman was expected to be discharged from the hospital a few hours after the game.
The Blackhawks killed off all nine Los Angeles power plays. But they have been short-handed a league-worst 181 times, including 32 times during 5-on-3 situations. This was the 11th time in 22 games this season that the Blackhawks have been short-handed at least nine times. They are 6-5 in those games.
Chicago also leads the NHL in penalty minutes per game. That's prompted general manager Dale Tallon to schedule a meeting in Chicago next week with Stephen Walkom, the NHL's director of officiating, to meet with the team and clarify the new rules that were designed to make the referees more vigilant about calling penalties for hooking and holding.
``It just seems that game after game, we're taking penalties like that,'' Bell said. ``Either we're not getting the right calls, or we've got to smarten up. It seems like every questionable call is going against us, but we can't put it in the referees' hands. We've got to keep our sticks down like everybody else.''
Calder put Chicago ahead 2-1 just 20 seconds into the second period and 2 seconds after the Kings killed off a hooking penalty against Sean Avery. Los Angeles pulled even at 8:51 of the period when Demitra got a pass at the right of the net from Craig Conroy and slipped his 12th goal under Khabibulin's outstretched left leg.
Frolov opened the scoring at 15:45 with the Kings' fifth short-handed goal, taking a pass off the left boards from Eric Belanger and beating Khabibulin between the pads on a breakaway while Los Angeles defenseman Tim Gleason was serving a boarding penalty.
But the Blackhawks tied it 62 seconds later, as Bell's wrist shot beat Garon high to the glove side with 44 seconds still left on Gleason's penalty. It extended Bell's goal streak to five games, putting him halfway toward the franchise record set by Bobby Hull in 1968-69.
``Earlier in the season I was getting my chances, but I was fighting the puck a little bit and they weren't going in,'' Bell said. ``But now our line has been playing well together. And when you get more confidence, you shoot the puck better and you find the back of the net.''
Kings captain Mattias Norstrom appeared in his 663rd regular-season game with the team, breaking Rob Blake's franchise record for games played by a defenseman. Only five players have played more games in a Kings uniform - Dave Taylor, Robitaille, Dionne, Butch Goring and Mike Murphy. Norstrom played his first 43 NHL games with the New York Rangers.
``It meant a lot. Rob Blake is the one player who meant the most to my career. He really took me under his wing when I came to L.A.,'' Norstrom said. ``The organization gave me a chance to stay here, and I'm grateful for that.''
Notes: Flinn, who signed as a free agent with the Kings on Jan. 2, 2002, has one goal and 84 penalty minutes in 31 career NHL games. ... Chicago is one of three teams that haven't scored a short-handed goal, along with St. Louis and Buffalo. ... Chicago's Jaroslav Spacek and Rene Bourque both hit goal posts in the first 6 minutes.
|SHG - Alex Frolov (13) ASST: Eric Belanger (9)|
1 - 0 LAK
|PPG - Mark Bell (9) ASST: Tyler Arnason (11), Brent Seabrook (10)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Kyle Calder (4) ASST: Rene Bourque (7), Mark Bell (8)|
2 - 1 CHI
|Pavol Demitra (12) ASST: Craig Conroy (16), Alex Frolov (18)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Luc Robitaille (5) ASST: Jeremy Roenick (6), Derek Armstrong (9)|
3 - 2 LAK
|Matthew Barnaby Interference against Sean Avery|
|Alex Frolov Interference against Jassen Cullimore|
|Sean Avery Interference against Jim Vandermeer|
|Rene Bourque Slashing against Aaron Miller|
|Jim Vandermeer Fighting (maj) against Ryan Flinn|
|Ryan Flinn Fighting (maj) against Jim Vandermeer|
|Jim Dowd Interference on goalkeeper against Mathieu Garon|
|Tim Gleason Boarding against Kyle Calder|
|Sean Avery Hooking against Jassen Cullimore|
|Matthew Barnaby Hi-sticking against Joe Corvo|
|Matthew Barnaby Hi-sticking against Joe Corvo|
|Lubomir Visnovsky Boarding against Curtis Brown|
|Matt Ellison Elbowing against Aaron Miller|
|Jeff Cowan Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Rene Bourque Hooking against Mike Weaver|
|Brent Seabrook Too many men/ice - bench|
|Michael Holmqvist Tripping against Mike Cammalleri|