Whether or not two games can be classified as a trend, it is clear the Kings are showing little resemblance to last season's on-ice disaster.
It had to be startling for the Chicago Blackhawks. The last time the teams played was in May, and the Kings looked like a team simply waiting to be put out of its misery.
This time, the Kings had three power-play goals and 13 different players figured in the scoring during a 6-5 overtime victory against the Blackhawks on Tuesday night at the Forum. Center Yanic Perreault, who had two goals, scored the game-winner at 2:10 of overtime as he was poised in front of the net, putting away a pass from Rick Tocchet, who was at the left post.
"I was just lucky it went in--that's the most important thing," Perreault said. "We can't play the way we did in the third."
His goal came on a rare power-play opportunity in overtime, given to the Kings when Blackhawk defenseman Keith Carney was sent off for interference by obstructing Tocchet. Perreault was asked if it would have been called last season. "I don't think they would have," he said.
Rookie Chicago Coach Craig Hartsburg disagreed with the call, saying: "I didn't like it. But that's the new rules and we have to live with it."
The other King players with a multiple-point game were center Kevin Todd, Tocchet and Marty McSorley, who was moved to forward from defense.
"This is what you classify as an ugly win," King Coach Larry Robinson said. "I kind of sensed it a little bit when we went up 5-2. . . They [the Blackhawks] had everybody but [goaltender] Jeff Hackett coming in the slot and taking potshots. We've got to learn how to protect a lead."
It is the first time the Kings opened with two consecutive victories since 1988-89, which was Wayne Gretzky's first season in Los Angeles. But a sparse crowd, 12,202, was on hand to view the accomplishment, making it the smallest since Dec. 8, 1988 when the Kings drew 12,111 against Winnipeg.
As well as the Kings played against the Blackhawks, the lead slipped away in regulation. Leading, 5-2, they let Chicago back in it late in the second period when rookie forward Eric Daze scored with 5:53 remaining and defenseman Gary Suter scored on the power play at 8:40 of the third.
And with 2:49 left, 34-year-old Denis Savard showed he still has plenty of star quality left in him, tying it at 5. King goaltender Byron Dafoe made a pad save on defenseman Eric Weinrich's shot from the right point but Savard was there in close to put away the rebound.
The Blackhawks were buoyed by a change of goaltenders at 7:47 of the second period as starter Ed Belfour was replaced by Jeff Hackett. Belfour gave up five goals on 18 shots.
Meanwhile, the complicated King sale to Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz and local developer Edward Roski Jr. is taking longer than had been expected. The parties worked hard to close it on Tuesday but it didn't happen. One league source said that additional undisclosed liabilities had cropped up, but LAK Acquisition Corp. lawyer Bennett Silverman said that wasn't the case.
Another source said the deal could end up closing late Thursday, but that it was more likely to occur Friday.