Series (Game 2 of 4)

Chicago leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 31st
Game 2: Saturday, November 30th
Game 3: Sunday, December 22nd
Game 4: Monday, December 30th

Blackhawks 1

(10-10-0, 23 pts)

Kings 4

(10-7-3, 27 pts)

10:30 PM ET, November 30, 2002

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California

1 2 3 T
CHI 0 1 01
LA 0 4 04

M. Schneider (Kings - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

E. Belanger (Kings - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

E. Rasmussen (Kings - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Kings break out of five-game scoring slump

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Kings decided to keep things simple and it paid off with a rare offensive outburst.

Derek Armstrong and Eric Belanger scored 27 seconds apart at the end of a four-goal rally in the second period, and Mathieu Schneider had two assists as the Kings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 Saturday night.

''We've been a little offensively challenged, but we found a way tonight to get some goals,'' Kings coach Andy Murray said. ''A lot of it was not fancy plays. It was going to the net hard, getting our stick on some deflections and redirections.''

Erik Rasmussen and rookie Michael Cammalleri also scored for the Kings, who had two goals in each of their previous five games. Felix Potvin faced only 13 shots, including Kyle Calder's power-play goal.

''That's as good a game as I've seen us play all year,'' Potvin said. ''When you talk about defense, it's not just six defensemen and the goalie playing back. It's the whole team that has to work hard and come back. They did a tremendous job applying pressure on them and keeping the puck out of our own end.''

Each team went more than 11 minutes without a shot. The Kings outscored Chicago 4-1 during a 8:14 span of the second period and drove Jocelyn Thibault to the Blackhawks' bench after 23 shots. It was Los Angeles' highest-scoring period this season.

''We just had to stick to the game plan, chipping the puck by their forecheck and play good defensively,'' Belanger said. ''When we play good defensively, that's when we get the most chances offensively. And that's what happened tonight. We had scoring chances and we buried them.''

The Kings broke through at 4:50 when Rasmussen cruised down the slot and redirected Ziggy Palffy's centering pass from the left circle past Thibault's glove.

Calder tied it 1 minutes later, getting a pass in the slot from Alex Zhamnov and lifting the puck over Potvin's glove during a power play.

But the Kings regained the lead two minutes later with a power-play goal of their own. Cammalleri batted the puck out of the air past Thibault's glove after Jaroslav Modry's slap shot from the right point was stopped.

''I thought our key goal was probably the Armstrong goal. That was a real tough one for them to recover from,'' Murray said.

Schneider was just coming off the bench when he caught up to a bouncing puck off the left boards in the Chicago zone and took a one-timer that was tipped in by Armstrong. Belanger then put a short backhander between Thibault's legs after getting a lead pass from Mikko Eloranta.

Thibault was then replaced by Craig Andersson, and the Kings went more than 12 minutes before recording their next shot.

''When they score twice in 30 seconds, it kind of takes the wind out of your sails,'' Chicago coach Brian Sutter said. ''We just had a couple of breakdowns in the middle of the second period and it cost us the game.''

The Blackhawks' shot total was their lowest of the season, after getting outshot 36-18 in the 4-2 victory Thursday at Phoenix. Defenseman Nathan Dempsey had their only shot on net in the third period.

''You're not going to do much when you're down three goals and you get only one shot in the third period,'' defenseman Jon Klemm said. ''We didn't do enough to get pucks to the net. When I was out there, I don't remember even skating in their zone a lot. We were in our own end most of the night.

''We have a skilled hockey team, but sometimes we're too unselfish. Guys have to be more selfish and take more shots. Goals aren't always scored on pretty plays. In fact, it's the other way around more often,'' Klemm said.

Theo Fleury, cleared by the NHL last Tuesday to practice with the Blackhawks after serving a seven-week suspension for violating the substance-abuse aftercare program, will not be disciplined by the team for missing practice Friday.

Fleury overslept and missed the team bus by five minutes and took a cab, but the driver got lost. It hasn't been determined when the seven-time All-Star will make his Blackhawks debut.

Game notes

Schneider, who has 17 points, is one of two defensemen currently leading his team in scoring. The other is Tom Poti of the New York Rangers, with 22 points. ... Chicago center Tyler Arnason, the NHL's rookie of the month for October with four goals and four assists in nine games, finished November with two goals and three assists in 13 games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press