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Kings Continue Losing Ways, 6-3 : Hockey: Chicago scores four goals in first period to chase Storr.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

All you need to know about the King season--10 long days and counting--can be summed up by one simple play during the Chicago Blackhawks’ 6-3 victory Sunday night.

Blackhawk defenseman Roger Johansson launched a shot from the red line off the right-wing glass at 1:45 of the third period and the puck banked off the partition between the panes of plexiglass . . . and into an empty King net, momentarily vacated by rookie goaltender Pauli Jaks.

“I just say, ‘Oh, no. Oh, my God,’ ” said Jaks. “I saw him shoot the puck and I went to play it behind the net.”

Embarrassment.

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Ineptness.

Bad luck.

The Kings have experienced all of the above so far. Ten days have yielded one victory in six games for the Kings, who are 1-4-1.

And the early reaction from the fans? Only 13,241 turned out at the Forum, meaning the Kings have sold out only one of five home games, the season opener.

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Meanwhile, the outmatched, erratic King defense hasn’t been showing up either, virtually abandoning all four goaltenders. Jaks, who turned 23 last week, became the fourth man to enter the nets at his own risk after the Blackhawks chased starter Jamie Storr.

Storr, who recorded his first NHL victory on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets, played one period and faced 17 shots, giving up four consecutive goals after the Kings opened the scoring at 1:25 with right wing Tony Granato scoring his second goal of the season.

Granato, emerging from disfavor, had been benched for Saturday’s game. The other King goals were scored by defenseman Michel Petit on the power play at 2:28 of the second, which was his first as a King. Forward John Druce, who scored twice against the Jets, finished the scoring with his third of the season with 4:02 to play.

By then, Storr was long gone after King Coach Barry Melrose attempted to change the momentum by inserting Jaks. Jaks, who made his NHL debut, was a fifth-round draft pick by the Kings in 1991 and has been playing with the Kings’ minor-league team in Phoenix. He was summoned from Phoenix when goaltenders Kelly Hrudey and Robb Stauber were injured in the same game on Jan. 22.

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Despite being victimized on Chicago’s sixth goal, Jaks handled himself well. Wearing a Phoenix Roadrunner mask, Jaks gave up two goals and faced 25 shots.

He couldn’t be blamed for the Blackhawks’ fifth goal, which came on a three-on-two rush with center Jeremy Roenick finishing it off by going around Petit to make the score 5-2 at 17:20 of the second.

It was the second goal of the night for Roenick, who also had an assist. Right wing Joe Murphy had a goal and an assist, and right wing Tony Amonte had two assists. The Blackhawks outshot the Kings, 42-27, including 17-4 in the first period.

Melrose was disgusted with the Kings’ first-period effort.

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“There wasn’t any,” he said. “The guys were stupid. We did a lot of stupid things in the first period.

“It was a good chance to take a look at Jaks. He did good, he went into a tough situation. We need to make a decision on him next year.”

Said Jaks, whose father, Peter, was visiting from Switzerland to see his son play: “I was happy to play my first game in the NHL. I was a little nervous, but after a few shots, I felt good. I hope I have a next chance.”

The weary Kings, playing on consecutive nights, were without defenseman Rob Blake, who suffered a strained groin and hip flexor Saturday.

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King General Manager Sam McMaster said Blake could have played but the team did not want to take the chance of risking further injury.

Also ailing was Wayne Gretzky, who had an assist despite playing with the flu. Petit is suffering from a groin injury and Jari Kurri has a hip flexor.


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