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Monday, January 3, 2011
Kings: Few positives in latest loss

By Dan Arritt

LOS ANGELES—The Kings played another hard-fought, gritty game against the defending Stanley Cup champions, but there’s no more consolation in close losses to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Kings lost their fourthin a row Monday eveningand fourth and final game against Chicago this season, 4-3, allowing two tiebreaking third-period goals on defensive mistakes at Staples Center.

The last three losses to Chicago have come by one goal. Against the rest of the league, the Kings are 9-2-1 in one-goal games.

The final go-ahead score was credited to Jonathan Toews, but it came off the stick of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty with about 5 minutes to play. The puck had dribbled out from behind the net and into the crease, where Doughty tried to swipe it away, but it hit the skate of Toews and slid into the net.

The goal killed any momentum the Kings had after tying the score about two minutes earlier on the second goal of the game by Ryan Smyth and his fifth in the last four games.

The tying goal came on the last of three successive penalties by the Blackhawks. Jack Johnson took a shot from the point and it snapped Smyth’s stick as he parked in front of the crease and sailed into the net.

It was also the second assist of the game for Johnson, who earlier was credited with a first-period goal but it was later awarded to Michal Handzus on another deflection in front of the net.

The Blackhawks had taken a 3-2 lead early in the third period when rookie defenseman Alec Martinez was stripped of the puck in his own end by Tomas Kopecky. Patrick Sharp retrieved the puck, cut in front of goalkeeper Jonathan Quick and beat him to his glove side.

The Kings, who out-shot the Blackhawsks, 10-0, through the first 8 minutes, finished with just a 29-28 advantage.