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Jonathan Toews returns to inspire Chicago win in LA

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews made a triumphant return to the lineup on Monday with the winning goal in his first game back from injury to give his team a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

Toews, who returned early after he was expected to miss two weeks with a shoulder injury picked up on December 28, netted the winner with 5:27 to play as the defending Stanley Cup champions snapped a three-game losing streak.

Skating around the net, Toews just about managed to get his stick on the loose puck and deflected it in for the vital score.

"It's nice to get a few breaks once in a while," Toews told reporters after also recording one assist. "It's really nice (to be back). You take it day by day when something like that happens. This is a big win for our guys."

Patrick Sharp scored twice and gave Chicago a lead early in the third period before Los Angeles winger Ryan Smyth netted the second of his two goals to tie the game at 3-3.

Michal Handzus scored the game's opening goal to give Los Angeles the lead but Marian Hossa's tally with 78 seconds to play in the first period evened the score.

Los Angeles (22-16-1) lost their fourth consecutive game and fourth in as many meetings against the Blackhawks (21-17-3) this season as the home team were swept in four games to Chicago for the first time since the 1981-82 season.

Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford made 26 saves including one in the final seconds when the Kings had pulled goalie Jonathan Quick for an extra skater.

(Editing by John O'Brien)