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Raanta, Saad lead Blackhawks past Kings

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
Caption
(AP photo)
Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) and Los Angeles Kings left wing Kyle Clifford battle for a loose puck during the first period Monday at Soldier Field.

CHICAGO – Antti Raanta made 26 saves in his first NHL shutout, and Brandon Saad scored as the Blackhawks beat Los Angeles, 1-0, on Monday night and sent the Kings to their first three-game losing streak in a year.

With Hawks No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford nearing a return from a lower-body injury, Raanta improved to 10-1-3 while bouncing back from one of his worst performances. He allowed two late goals in the Hawks’ 6-5 shootout loss at St. Louis on Saturday.

Saad netted the only goal in this one in the first period. The Hawks, which lead the NHL with 158 goals, played its lowest-scoring game since a 2-1 shootout win at Dallas on Nov. 29.

Los Angeles’ Martin Jones made 29 saves in his second straight loss after beginning his career with eight consecutive wins, tying the NHL record.

The Kings, who have yielded a league-low 80 goals, played a tough, physical game after losses to Dallas and Nashville. But they are on their first three-game slide since dropping the opening three games of last season in January.

Hawks forward Patrick Kane had a career-best point streak snapped at 14 games. He had eight goals and 17 assists in the surge.

Last season’s Western Conference finalists faced off for the second time this season. The Hawks scored three first-period goals, and Raanta made 21 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Kings on Dec. 15.

Raanta lost his shutout chance in that one when Kings defenseman Alec Martinez scored with 3:54 remaining.

This time, he finished the job.

Raanta faced his biggest test in the second period when Dustin Brown made a strong charge to the net. The 24-year-old Finn turned away the rush by the Kings captain, and then stopped him again when he was awarded a penalty shot.

Anze Kopitar also had a chance in front of the Hawks’ net with 2 minutes to go, but Raanta was there when the center tried to stuff the puck into the net.

The Kings had a couple of chances to stop the Hawks’ scoring chance that produced the only goal.

Bryan Bickell’s pass to Saad went off the stick of Los Angeles defenseman Matt Greene, and Mike Richards had an opportunity to knock away the puck before Saad flipped it in at 7:05 for his 14th goal.

The Hawks appeared to have a second goal in the third, but Andrew Shaw’s tip-in was waved off because his stick was above his shoulders.

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