Blackhawks return to top form, dominate Kings 3-1 - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Blackhawks return to top form, dominate Kings 3-1

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CHICAGO, Ill. (FOX 32 News) -

It's easy to forget but shouldn't be misunderstood, hockey players are not robots. The best teams can bring a top effort on a consistent basis with only a few missteps, but there will always be some subpar efforts. On Sunday night the Chicago Blackhawks compete level was back at the top as they downed the Los Angeles Kings 3-1.

The victory snapped the Kings six game win streak. Los Angeles was also on an incredible run of not allowing a first period goal in 18 consecutive games. Marian Hossa broke that streak with a shorthanded marker as the Blackhawks scored all of their goals in the opening frame.

The difference between what happened in Toronto on Saturday night compared to the sharply focused performance Sunday night was striking. The Blackhawks were on the attack from the opening puck drop and it was the Kings that appeared to have little to say. After getting a big lead the Hawks played solid defensively but didn't collapse into a shell. The best players led and that was particularly true for Jonathan Toews.

Toews hasn't been playing poorly but like most, except for Patrick Kane, had a bad night in Toronto. Back on home ice versus a club that is of a higher caliber than the Maple Leafs, Toews led the charge. His line was a big reason for the win.

The Blackhawks while playing with a three goal lead for most of the game still recorded 40 shots on goal. The Toews line accounted for 15 shots and two goals. Patrick Sharp stayed hot and scored as did Kris Versteeg as this game was never in doubt.

Antti Raanta also bounced back with a top level performance. Except for one screen shot that escaped him with less than four minutes to play he would have recorded a shutout. Raanta made two key saves on the Kings top player Anze Kopitar while the Hawks were on a power play late in the second period. If the Kings would have scored they would have had a head of steam going into the third frame.

It was a complete performance against a top Western Conference foe.

The Blackhawks defense was dialed in and helped trigger the offense with clean outlet passes. The Chicago power play continued to click as they have been successful in nine straight games. The much maligned penalty kill was perfect as the Kings failed on three power play attempts. Patrick Kane picked up another assist and had five shots on goal. Kane has had at least one point in 21 of the last 22 games. With Sunday night's victory the Hawks have a stellar 7-0-2 record in the second of back to back games.

This will be a shorter week with only two more games on the schedule but it should be interesting. First the Hawks travel to Nashville for a Tuesday night tilt and then the Canucks will visit the United Center on Friday.

Back on November 16 the Predators were not friendly hosts as they skated away with a 7-2 decision. The Blackhawks should be zeroed in on revenge as the Predators handed them their most lopsided loss of the season.

You can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia and I will be back on Wednesday morning.

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