Series (Game 2 of 4)

Los Angeles leads 3-1

Game 1: Sunday, October 12th
Game 2: Saturday, October 25th
Game 3: Saturday, November 29th
Game 4: Sunday, January 18th

Blackhawks 3

(3-4-0, 7 pts)

Kings 2

(4-4-0, 8 pts)

10:30 PM ET, October 25, 2003

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California

1 2 3 T
CHI 2 1 03
LA 1 0 12

J. Thibault (Blackhawks - G): Saves: 44, Save Pct.: .957

D. Armstrong (Kings - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

P. Vorobiev (Blackhawks - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Chicago nets first road win

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- One day after Chicago general manager Mike Smith was fired, the Chicago Blackhawks focused on their power play and got the desired results.

Pavel Vorobiev scored his first NHL goal while Chicago had the man advantage, and Nathan Dempsey also connected on the power play against the league's worst penalty-killing unit as the Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 Saturday night.

Smith was replaced on an interim basis by senior vice president Bob Pulford, who began his fourth stint as Blackhawks GM.

"It's a sad thing," goaltender Jocelyn Thibault said. "I like Mike Smith. He's been very good to me and very good for this team. But I don't think it had any effect on our game tonight. We're professionals, and no matter what happens, we've got to show up at the rink and play as hard as we can. And I thought we did a good job of it."

Thibault, who surrendered a goal by Derek Armstrong just 39 seconds after the opening faceoff, made 36 of his 44 saves in the last two periods. Steve Sullivan scored the go-ahead goal, helping the Blackhawks record their first road victory.

"Joce was unbelievable," Dempsey said. "He just takes up so much of the net and is right there in clutch situations. Tonight, he was every reason why we won this hockey game."

Lubomir Visnovsky scored early in the third period for the Kings, who outshot Chicago 37-8 over the final two periods and got only one past Thibault.

"I'm very disappointed," Kings coach Andy Murray said. "It's all about bottom-line results, and we didn't get the win tonight. The way we played in the last 40 minutes makes the first period seem worse."

Chicago tied it 1-all at 6:50 of the first when Dempsey used Kings defenseman Joe Corvo as a screen and beat Roman Cechmanek high to the stick side with a one-timer from 45 feet in the slot while Kings rookie Tim Gleason was serving a slashing penalty.

Sullivan put the Blackhawks ahead about 10 minutes later, coming out from behind the net untouched and stuffing the puck between Cechmanek's pads.

Luc Robitaille was off for tripping when the Blackhawks extended the lead to 3-1 at 8:18 of the second. Kyle Calder made a cross-ice pass that Vorobiev converted before Cechmanek could get back to cover the left post.

The Blackhawks, whose 39 power-play goals last season were fewer than any team except the Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils, are 6-for-36 through their first eight games.

"Last year we had a tendency to get a little too fancy and too cute, moving the puck around too much and not taking the opportunities to shoot it when we have them," Dempsey said. "But this year we're stressing getting the puck through to the net and then having guys banging and crashing down there. I mean, the penalty killing in this league is so good now, that's the way you've got to score goals."

Game notes

Pulford, who was in Florida with his wife this week before Smith was fired, flew out to Los Angeles to begin his fourth stint as Blackhawks GM. "It's certainly unexpected, but I'm happy to do it and I'll do the best job I can while I'm here," Pulford said during the pregame warmup. Pulford coached Los Angeles for five seasons and had a franchise-record 178 victories. The Kings had their best season in club history with him behind the bench, finishing with 105 points in 1974-75. ... The Kings are 1-for-20 on the power play in their last three games, after consecutive games with three power-play goals apiece.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press