Anze Kopitar scored the deciding goal in a shootout as the Los Angeles Kings ended a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the host Chicago Blackhawks in a battle of recent Stanley Cup champions, who have each played below expectations.
In his first career NHL start, Kings goalie Cal Petersen made 34 saves. Petersen, who was signed by the Kings in 2017 as a free agent out of Notre Dame, played his final college game in the Blackhawks’ home rink at the 2017 NCAA Frozen Four.
Petersen’s opportunity in goal came as the result of knee surgeries to both Jonathan Quick and Jack Campbell, while Jonny Brodzinski was lost due to shoulder surgery.
The Blackhawks tied the score 1-1 on a goal from Brandon Saad 2:39 into the third period. Saad fed Jonathan Toews with a pass behind the Kings’ goal and Toews sent a return pass to Saad just in front of the net. The left wing was able to beat Petersen on the glove side.
Tyler Toffoli scored the lone Kings goal at 10:29 of the second period when he weaved his way through traffic from center ice following a Blackhawks turnover and redirected a shot off the right leg of Chicago’s Duncan Keith.
Kopitar and Ilya Kovalchuk each scored shootout goals against Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford. Toews and Patrick Kane failed to score in the shootout against Petersen.
The Kings were playing without forward Trevor Lewis, who fractured his foot when hit by a puck in the morning skate on Friday. Left wing Carl Hagelin took three shots in 16 minutes as he made his Kings debut after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday in a trade for Tanner Pearson.
Between 2010 and 2015, the Blackhawks won three Stanley Cup titles and the Kings won two. Yet the teams entered Friday’s matchup with the Kings holding an NHL-worst minus-21 goal differential and the Blackhawks holding a minus-15 mark, tied for second worst in the league.
The Blackhawks entered 12th in the Western Conference with 18 points, while the Kings were 15th and last in the conference. The Kings’ total of 11 points entering Friday’s game was worst in the NHL.
The Kings fired head coach John Stevens on Nov. 4, while the Blackhawks fired head coach Joel Quenneville two days later.
—Field Level Media