CHICAGO - The Blackhawks' big-time scorers were on target against the Los Angeles Kings. Their big hitters found their marks, too.
Chicago used some key early hits to set the tone, then clicked on offence in a 6-3 victory Wednesday night. They jumped to a 3-0 lead and stayed in control throughout. Martin Havlat scored twice, and Patrick Sharp and rookie Jonathan Toews each had a goal and two assists to help the Blackhawks end a season-high four-game losing streak.
Tuomo Ruutu and Duncan Keith also scored for Chicago in a physical contest punctuated with several open-ice hits and a pair of fights. Patrick Kane, the NHL's leading rookie scorer, added two assists.
After missing 22 games with a shoulder injury, Havlat has five goals and three assists in seven games.
"We were hitting pretty often," Havlat said. "We made good, clean hits, and that gives you opportunities to get chances.
"Everybody did a better job, a smarter job than in those (last) four games."
Ruutu, who opened the scoring 3:11 in, was one of the physical forces. He slammed Lubomir Visnovsky with under five minutes left in the first period, and was given a charging penalty.
Ruutu then fought with Brad Stuart, who instigated the altercation.
"We want to be a team that's hard to play against," Ruutu said. "When you play that way, you play better with the puck."
Chicago coach Denis Savard saluted his hitters and his scorers.
"We were physical and we had to be," Savard said. "I know you look at the goals and points, but those guys made the difference."
Michal Handzus scored and assisted on a goal by Patrick O'Sullivan. Anze Kopitar also scored for Los Angeles, extending his point streak to eight games (six goals, six assists).
"We knew they were going to come out hard because they needed a big game," Handzus said. "We didn't respond and that was the difference."
Kings coach Marc Crawford agreed.
"I thought the hit by Ruutu in the first period made a difference, and their young guy (Dustin) Byfuglien also had a big one," Crawford said.
Chicago's Nikolai Khabibulin made 25 saves.
Jean-Sebastien Aubin started in goal for Los Angeles, but was replaced by Jonathan Quick late in the first period after allowing three goals on nine shots. Quick permitted three on 27 shots.
Ruutu opened the scoring 3:11 into the first period on a shot from the left circle that beat Aubin on the stick side.
The goal was set up by Adam Burish from behind the Los Angeles net and was Ruutu's third in 21 games.
Havlat and Keith scored 34 seconds apart late in the first to give Chicago a 3-0 lead and chase Aubin.
Havlat drove to the net and fired a shot that rolled in over Aubin's right pad and glove with 6:28 left in the first.
Keith connected from the slot, beating Aubin with a low shot that slipped just under his right skate. Quick then entered.
Handzus cut it to 3-1 with a shot from the left circle with 55 seconds left in the period. The shot went in just as Los Angeles' Scott Thornton slammed into Khabibulin, but goaltender interference wasn't called.
Havlat made it 4-1 during a 5-on-3 power play at 5:05 of the second. He stickhandled to the net from the right circle and beat Quick with a shot on the stick side.
O'Sullivan trimmed the deficit to 4-2 with 3:23 left in the second when he poked a rebound of Rob Blake's shot between Khabibulin's legs.
Kopitar beat Khabibulin with a 35-foot slap shot from the slot at 6:36 of the third to narrow it to 4-3.
Toews was credited with a goal that made it 5-3 just 42 seconds later. Kane's centring pass hit Toews in the shoulder and deflected in.
Sharp's breakaway goal with 2:05 left completed the scoring.