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Monday, December 30, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Hawks 1, Kings 0

By Scott Powers


 
CHICAGO – Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ 1-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center on Monday.

How it happened: In a game between the league’s best offensive team (Blackhawks) and best defensive team (Kings), the Blackhawks came out with the narrow victory. Blackhawks rookie goaltender Antti Raanta made 26 saves and recorded his first NHL shutout. Raanta’s biggest stop came on a penalty shot by the Kings’ Dustin Brown during the second period. Brandon Saad scored the game’s lone goal at 7 minutes, 5 seconds of the first period. A pass from Bryan Bickell was deflected by two Kings players, and Saad stole the puck off Kings forward Mike Richards’ stick and scored while converging on the net. Kings goaltender Martin Jones made 29 saves.

What it means: The Blackhawks recorded their first shutout of the season. They closed out 2013 with a victory and improved to 28-7-7 with a league-high 63 points. The Kings dropped their third consecutive game and fell to 25-11-4. The Blackhawks defeated the Kings 3-1 on Dec. 15 in their first meeting this season. The Blackhawks killed off two penalties and have killed off 21 of their past 23 penalties. Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane had his 14-game points streak snapped. Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith had an assist on Saad’s goal for his 36th of the season.

Player of the game: Raanta hadn’t been great in his three previous games, allowing nine goals on 55 shots. He bounced back with one of the best performances of his career on Monday.

Stat of the game: Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw had a team-high nine hits. Chicago was outhit 45-30 by the Kings.

What’s next: The Blackhawks begin 2014 with back-to-back games on the East Coast. They play the New York Islanders on Thursday and the New Jersey Devils on Friday.