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Chicago Blackhawks defeat Los Angeles Kings 4-2
When Jonathan Toews scores at the United Center, Chuck Berry's classic hit "Johnny B. Goode" blares over the loudspeakers.
Lately, the song has been getting more airplay than when it was released in 1958.
The Blackhawks captain scored his team-high 26th goal of the season and ninth in the last eight games in the first minute of Sunday's game to propel the Hawks to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
The triumph in front of a crowd of 21,386 snapped a three-game winless skid (0-2-1) and improved the Hawks' home record to 16-5-6.
"It was a good win overall," said Toews, who redirected a Matt Walker shot past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick just 47 seconds into the game.
The goal came one game after Toews had recorded his first career hat trick in Friday night's 5-4 overtime loss to Pittsburgh.
"It just seems like everything is hitting my stick in front of the net, and if it doesn't go in right away, we get good scoring chances," Toews said. "It's nice when it goes in early in the game. We played a solid game at both ends of the rink."
The fast start was a boost to rookie goalie Antti Niemi, making his first NHL start. Niemi made 22 saves to record the victory.
"It was nice to see him in his first start get a win," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was probably a little nerve-wracking getting that opportunity. I thought he settled down as the game progressed."
Duncan Keith's goal just over five minutes after Toews' made it 2-0, and the Hawks had the momentum over a team that had defeated them in two previous matchups this season. Keith fired a shot from between the circles that hit the left post and then bounced off Quick and into the net.
Los Angeles cut the deficit on Jack Johnson's power-play goal two minutes later, but Dustin Byfuglien's rocket from the top of the circle late in the period blew past Quick for a 3-1 Hawks lead.
Anze Kopitar scored in the waning seconds of the first to keep the game tight.
After a scoreless second, the Hawks finally put the Kings away on Dave Bolland's power-play goal with less than a minute to go.
On the play, Martin Havlat picked up his second assist of the game, which extended his points streak to eight games — three goals and 10 assists.
"They're an offensive team that can come right back and take advantage of our mistakes," Toews said. "We can be happy with the way we finished off the game. We've found a lot of great ways to win games like this over this year."
The Hawks avoided their first four-game losing streak of the season.
"When you lose three in a row, it gets your attention," Quenneville said.
"Our home record recently (1-3-2 going into the game) hadn't been very effective. We had such a good stretch early in the year that we want to re-establish our home-ice presence."