CHICAGO – There's nothing magical about the surging Los Angeles Kings' rise to the top of the Pacific Division. The formula of tight defense, sharp goaltending and timely scoring is working just fine.
Jonathan Quick made 24 saves, Christian Folin scored the game's first goal midway through the third period, and the Kings beat the Blackhawks, 3-1, on Sunday night for their fifth straight win.
Folin's shot from the right point sailed over Anton Forsberg's glove with Anze Kopitar screening at 9:29. Dustin Brown scored an empty-net goal with 2:03 left to make it 2-0, and Kopitar added another empty-netter after the Hawks' Jonathan Toews scored with Forsberg pulled for an extra skater.
"I closed my eyes," joked Folin, a defenseman who scored his second goal. "I saw two guys right in front, and one of their forecheckers coming hard at me, so I kind of shot it in there hoping for the best.
"It's fun when it goes in. I don't score too many goals, so I'll take it."
The Kings have allowed six goals during their streak, which has moved them to second in the Western Conference. Their run follows a 1-6-1 slide.
"It's fun," Folin said. "I think we're pushing each other as a group. That's something we're going to need going forward."
Quick turned aside some tough chances, especially when Chicago outshot Los Angeles 15-6 in the second period, before losing a bid for his third shutout this season.
"Way too big of a letdown in the second, but Quickie kept us in it," Kopitar said. "In the third period, we just kind of find a way."
The Hawks have lost four straight. Forsberg made 21 saves in his second straight start in place of Corey Crawford, who's out with a lower-body injury.
"It's a little bit frustrating not getting a win, but I can't do nothing else," Forsberg said. "I've just got to keep playing the way I've been and focus on my game."
The Hawks were in position to pull this one out after picking up the pace in the second period – and entering the third with a scoreless tie and some momentum.
"The game's right there for us to make the plays and have a big third period, and it turned out be a tough, tough loss," coach Joel Quenneville said.
The Kings' Adrian Kempe narrowly missed on a point-blank tip-in attempt midway through the second, then a loose puck tipped off the right post during a goalmouth scrum.
A point shot by the Hawks' Cody Franson glanced of Brandon Saad's skate at the edge of the crease and clanged off the left post with 5:20 left. Quick then came through with a snappy glove save on Ryan Hartman's backhander with 1:58 left.
Marian Gaborik broke in alone just under two minutes into the third after stealing the puck from Patrick Sharp at the Chicago blue line. Forsberg stopped Gaborik point-blank with a glove save.
Before the game, Quenneville said he expected Crawford back skating this week but had no timetable for the goalie's return to action. ... Los Angeles forward Torrey Mitchell, acquired from Montreal on Nov. 23 for a conditional 2018 draft pick, made his Kings debut. ... The Hawks finished a stretch of five games in seven nights.
Hawks: Play at Washington on Wednesday night.
Kings: Host Minnesota on Tuesday night.