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Kings' offense sets tone early in 5-0 win

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

A magnificent start set the tone for the Kings in their 5-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks Monday night at the United Center.

A pair of goals scored in an 18-second span during the game’s opening minutes drove the Kings to control the contest, one where Jonathan Quick displayed perfection as he made 32 saves to record his 41st-career NHL shutout, breaking a league record for American-born goaltenders.

“Yeah that’s big for us,” Drew Doughty said of the Kings’ early scoring. “I think we got two on one shift too, which is a pretty big deflator for their team, so from that point on, you could kind of feel that we were going to win that game.”

Kris Versteeg, a former Blackhawk, opened the scoring against his old club when he jammed home a rebound from a Brayden McNabb shot while he was positioned in Chicago’s slot amidst traffic in front of Corey Crawford’s net.

For Versteeg, it was his first goal in a Kings uniform. “It felt good to get kind of the monkey off the back,” he said.

A mere 18 seconds after Versteeg opened the scoring, and on the same shift with the same line, Milan Lucic beat Crawford with a wrist shot high to the blocker side after he received a pass in the neutral zone and drove into Chicago’s zone wide left.

With just under five minutes to play in the second period, Vincent Lecavalier buried his eighth goal of the season, scoring his third in four games into a wide-open net after receiving a perfectly placed pass from Trevor Lewis.

In the third, Dustin Brown gave the Kings a 4-0 lead when he hopped on a bouncing puck, beat Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith wide, and worked his way around Corey Crawford to net a backhand shot to score his ninth goal of the season.

Brown’s goal was his first in 11 games.

Tyler Toffoli snapped a slump of his own moments later, scoring his first goal in 10 games, his first even-strength goal in 24 when he beat Corey Crawford with a wrist shot high to the glove side. Toffoli’s goal gave the Kings a 5-0 lead with 3:50 left to play in regulation.

The Kings picked up their first regular season win at the United Center since March 25, 2013.

Kris Versteeg (1G, 1A) and Luke Schenn (2A) led all Kings players in points scored (2), Trevor Lewis in shots taken (3), Luke Schenn in hits delivered (8), Luke Schenn in shots blocked (6), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (26:06). Jonathan Quick made 32 saves in the win.

The Kings will complete their two-game road trip Tuesday night when they take on the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 5:30 PM PST.

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