Kings 2, Blackhawks 0: Jonathan Quick outduels Corey Crawford

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John Scott of the Blackhawks (top center) fights with Willie Mitchell of the Kings in the first period at the United Center Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford deserved a better fate, and coach Joel Quenneville was irate with the officiating. That about sums up the Hawks’ mood after their 2-0 loss Wednesday against the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center.

Crawford had his best outing in his last three starts, making big saves at key times in the low-scoring game the Hawks were anticipating. As players often say, it was one of those games in which some dirty rebound goals were needed.

But it’s how the Kings scored their goals that infuriated Quenneville as the Hawks lost for only the second time in regulation this month and were shut out for the fourth time this season.

“I thought both their goals should’ve been whistled down,” Quenneville said. “Both goals should have been called something. [There were] infractions on both their goals. Clearly, the refereeing was tough to watch. But we still had a lot of chances at the other end. Unfortunately, you’re not going to win a game when you don’t score a goal.”

Was it goalie interference? “Yes, and slew foot,” Quenneville said.

The first goal allowed by Crawford (36 saves) was definitely one he’d like to have back. Winger Kyle Clifford prevented Crawford from covering a loose puck in his crease as Trent Hunter pounced on it for his second goal this season.

But on the Kings’ second goal, Quenneville’s argument is stronger.

Moments before Jarret Stoll’s goal 1:16 into the third period, replays showed winger Justin Williams using his skate to take down defenseman Nick Leddy from behind – or slew-footing him – and creating a better scoring opportunity. Williams had several attempts on Crawford before Stoll lifted in a rebound.

Still, the Hawks thought they could’ve done a better job to prevent the Kings’ second and third chances on their goals.

“Crawford was unbelievable,” winger Viktor Stalberg said. “He kept us in it.”

Crawford’s best save came on center Mike Richards, who was given a penalty shot after getting tripped by Jonathan Toews on a breakaway in the second. Crawford brought the crowd to its feet by stopping Richards to improve to 5-for-5 on penalty shots in his career. But it turned out to be the Hawks’ only real highlight.

Jonathan Quick made 38 saves for his fifth shutout this season. Stalberg felt the Kings did a good job of limiting second chances, and Marian Hossa and Toews made sure to point out that the Hawks failed to capitalize on some quality looks on the power play.

“Give [Quick] credit,” Toews said. “He made some pretty good stops out there. But you’d have to say he had a horseshoe you know where on a few of those plays. He was making some big stops out there. I don’t know if it just got to us, that we felt the puck just wouldn’t go in tonight, and that trend kept going in the third period.”

It was the Kings’ first victory over the Hawks in regulation in their last 12 meetings. They also improved to 3-0-1 under new coach Darryl Sutter, who recently took over for the fired Terry Murray.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed that we didn’t get two points,” Toews said. “We didn’t play a bad game, but that team wanted it. They had that desire out there. We just didn’t match that.”

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