NHL - Blackhawks share top spot after LA win

Reuters - Fri, 19 Mar 07:40:00 2010

The Chicago Blackhawks moved into a tie for top spot in the West with a 3-0 away win over the Los Angeles Kings.

KOPECKY Tomas - 0

Tomas Kopecky (pictured) scored twice in the third period after Troy Brouwer put the Hawks ahead in the second as Chicago ended a three-game losing streak and joined San Jose at the top of the Western Conference.

Goaltender Antti Niemi needed only 17 saves in the shutout for Chicago (45-19-6). Los Angeles (40-24-5) are now tied for seventh in the West and have lost two in a row.

Leading scorer Anze Kopitar recorded four shots but could not lend support to netminder Jonathan Quick who finished with 34 saves.

Troy Brouwer put the Blackhawks on top at 11:36 in the second period and Kopecky put the game out of reach with his fifth and sixth goals of the year in a span of 3:20 during the third.

"I was a little tired after the Olympics," Slovakia international Kopecky said. "I didn't have the jump that I had before.

"(Ben) Eager and (Adam) Burish were skating all over, dishing me the puck. You get more confidence when you have the puck more. We were creating chances, and that's how we have to play."

The Blackhawks had lost a trio of heart-breakers having given up the game-winning goal in the third or OT of each defeat.

But the visitors were able to turn things around despite a battered roster.

With defenders Brian Campbell and Brent Seabrook out it cleared the way for Kopecky to step in for winger Dustin Byfuglien, who was forced to play a defenseman.

It was the second multi-game goal of Kopecky's career while Brouwer put in his 20th goal of the year.

Chicago now has five players with at least 20 scores, a feat they have accomplished for a second straight season.

The Kings will try to regroup beginning Saturday against the New York Islanders.

"I think it is important for this team, at this time of year, to hit the reset button, and come back to work tomorrow," said Kings captain Dustin Brown.

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Anaheim Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski has been suspended for eight games for hitting Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook in the head.

The incident occurred late in the second period of Anaheim's 4-2 victory on Wednesday. Wisniewski was given a minor penalty for charging and a dazed Seabrook was forced from the game.

"Mr. Wisniewski delivered a retaliatory hit to the head of an opponent who never had possession of the puck," said Colin Campbell, NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations.

"The fact that Mr. Wisniewski is a repeat offender also entered into this decision."

Wisniewski, 26, was suspended for two games in November for a wicked hit on Phoenix right wing Shane Doan.

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Thursday's NHL results:

Pittsburgh 3 BOSTON 0

St. Louis 4 NY RANGERS 3

CAROLINA 4 Washington 3 (OT)

ATLANTA 6 Ottawa 3

TORONTO 2 New Jersey 1 (SO)

Buffalo 6 TAMPA BAY 2

Phoenix 4 FLORIDA 3 (SO)

NASHVILLE 5 Minnesota 0

Philadelphia 3 DALLAS 2

VANCOUVER 3 San Jose 2

Chicago 3 LOS ANGELES 0

Reuters

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