With 20 minutes to play, Chicago forwards Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews stopped clowning around, so to speak. Their efforts have given the Blackhawks a chance to end their annual circus road trip with a .500 record.
The Blackhawks usually hit the road for an extended period in late November when the circus takes over Chicago's United Center, and the club won the opener of its trek at Vancouver on Nov. 16 for a fourth straight win. The Blackhawks went on to drop tests in Calgary, Edmonton and San Jose however, getting outscored 15-4.
Chicago rebounded in an encouraging way on Friday, skating to a 6-5 victory at Anaheim thanks to four straight goals in the third period. The Blackhawks got two each from Sharp and Toews in the frame, with Sharp finishing off the second hat trick of his career and Toews adding three assists on the day.
"It was one of those games where the puck just went in," said Sharp. "Everyone was focused today."
Corey Crawford stopped 23 shots in the victory.
The Blackhawks have a good chance of ending their swing on a positive note given their recent history with the Kings. They haven't lost in regulation in this series in nearly three years, since Jan. 29, 2009. Chicago is 9-0-1 in the past 10 encounters and has taken each of its last three trips to Los Angeles.
The Kings aren't likely to be riding high going into this matchup after a loss to the Stars on Wednesday. Mike Richards and Kevin Westgarth scored second- period goals to stake Los Angeles to a 2-0 lead, but Dallas netted the next three goals, including the overtime winner by Steve Ott at 2:56 of the frame to deal the Kings a 3-2 defeat.
Jonathan Quick took the loss despite 35 saves as Los Angeles fell to 4-1-1 in its last six.
"We gave them (two points), with a good lead," Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi said on Los Angeles' website. "Not to say that they didn't make plays, but it's something that we haven't done here in a few years, is cough up leads in the third period."
Richards set a new career high by scoring a goal in his fifth straight game. He has eight tallies in his last eight games and will aim to extend the streak tonight in the opener of a four-game homestand.