Kings handle Blackhawks in convincing 6-2 victory

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Five different Los Angeles skaters scored in a well-rounded performance.

Fresh off of another rough loss to the Dallas Stars, the Kings headed home to host the Chicago Blackhawks. With goalies Cam Talbot and Petr Mrazek getting the start for their respective squads, it was a quiet first 10 minutes to open the game.

Eventually, Alex Laferriere got the Kings on the board with his 11th of the season to break the ice. Just a couple of minutes later, Chicago’s Nick Foligno scored via the power-play to get the Blackhawks even. In the second, Los Angeles fully took the wheel and secured themselves a solid lead. Vladislav Gavrikov knocked in his 5th of the season at 9:32 into the period to reclaim the lead for the Kings.

Then, it was Anze Kopitar who stepped up and delivered back-to-back goals to give his team a 4-1 lead heading into the final period of play. Less than 6 minutes into the third, Phillip Denault kept the party going for Los Angeles with his 16th goal of the season. Chicago was now down 5-1 and needed to make something happen fast. Good defense from Talbot and the rest of the Kings kept the Blackhawks off the board until the final 5 minutes of the game, where Kevin Korchinski was able to make it a 5-2 game. Three minutes later, Trevor Lewis had the answer to definitively shut the door on Chicago and seal a dominant 6-2 win for the Kings.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Kopitar delivers 3 points with a special cheerleader in the crowd

It was a big night for Anze Kopitar, who contributed to the W with three points and made a little more history in the process. Additionally, he got to do it all with his grandma in the stands for the first time in 15 years. His first point of the day came on Vladislav Gavrikov’s second-period score, as he tallied his 36th assist on the season. It was a simple pass up to the blue line as Gavrikov took care of the rest with a rocket that landed in the back of the net. That would not be all for Kopitar in the second period, however, as he also contributed 2 scores. His first came on a steal from Adrian Kempe as he dished the puck right to Kopitar, who cashed in from short distance.

He wasn’t done having fun, however, and decided that he needed one more goal to make it all worth his while. This time, the puck found its way into the net off of his skate, giving Los Angeles a 4-1 lead.

The three-point period helped Kopitar to jump into 52nd on the all-time NHL points list (1,199) as he passed Patrick Marleau. It was truly a special night for the captain, who got to do what he does best in front of his grandmother and the Kings’ faithful. Kopitar is now up to 22 goals on the season, which is tied for his second-most in a single campaign since the 2018-2019 season. Perhaps Grandma Kopitar was the luck charm that he needed, and hopefully, she will get to stay in town long enough to watch her grandson reach the 1,200-point mark.

Cam Talbot makes highlight plays in a winning performance

After taking losses in 2 consecutive starts to the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues earlier in the month of March, Cam Talbot has now come back with a pair of wins in a row. With both of them coming against Chicago, his latest on Tuesday showcased some impressive moments.

Talbot makes an athletic play to rob rookie Wyatt Kaiser of a score.

Throughout the game, he managed to save 22 of 24 shots and secured his 21st victory of the season. Including this season, the 36-year-old goalie has only had 21 or more saves in two seasons since 2018-2019. He is now 4-2-1 in March and has tied his highest win total in a month since January. With a couple more weeks still to come before April, he’s definitely in great shape to keep his momentum going in the right direction. His efforts in the win over Chicago helped the Kings continue to capitalize in one of their strongest areas this season, which has been taking care of business against lesser opponents. In the team’s 16 games against the bottom 7 teams in the NHL this year, they are 15-0-1 with a goal differential of +41. The ability to avoid playing down to their opponents has helped Los Angeles tremendously as they remain in a tight battle with the Golden Knights for the third-place spot in the Pacific Division. If Talbot and the rest of the squad can keep taking care of business against teams like Chicago on a consistent basis, it will go a long way.

Gavrikov delivers rare score, reaches 100 career points

Despite his lack of prominent goal-scoring for the Kings, you can’t knock the availability that Vladislav Gavrikov has provided for Los Angeles so far this season. After being traded over from the Blue Jackets in a deal that sent goalie Jonathan Quick to Columbus last year, he has appeared in 63 out of 68 games for the squad this season. On Tuesday night, he managed to get involved in the action and came through with just his 5th score on the season.

He ripped in an impressive shot off the post from just in front of the blue line to put the Kings back in front 2-1. With the goal, he also managed to reach 100 career points in the NHL. It was a nice milestone for Gavrikov, who got to make it happen with the 23rd score of his career. Later on in the contest, he grabbed point 101 with his 14th assist on the score from Trevor Lewis that gave Los Angeles their 6th and final goal of the night. It was a game that saw great team contribution and got the Kings back on the right track after their loss in Dallas.

Los Angeles will be right back in action on Wednesday night as they take on the Minnesota Wild in the second night of a back-to-back. The Wild are currently just 3 points out from the second wild card spot in the Western Conference and are winners of in 4 out of their last 5 contests. It will be up to the Kings to put an end to their recent hot streak as they try to continue making the most of a three-game home stand.

The game is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. PT.