LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Kings caught the Chicago Blackhawks' penalty-killing unit and goaltending on an off night. Ladislav Nagy and Alexander Frolov were able to take full advantage.
Nagy had his third career hat trick and added two assists for his second career five-point game, Frolov had two goals and three assists for his first five-point game, and the Kings scored a season-high five power-play goals in a 9-2 rout of the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
"No disrespect intended with this comment, but their goaltending wasn't great tonight," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "And if you're analyzing penalty-killing, you don't want to leave lanes open and allow a lot chances. Tonight we got a lot of them. I thought Frolov and Nagy had the puck on a string."
Chicago came in with the league's best penalty-killing percentage in road games, allowing just five goals in 68 short-handed situations. But the Kings, who entered the game with the fourth-best power play at home, connected three times with the man advantage on their first nine shots of the game and chased goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin after building a 4-2 lead.
"Our confidence was at a high level," Crawford said. "We took advantage of maybe some shoddy coverage, and the hunger that we had on the puck was at a very good level. We did a great job of moving the puck and finding the open mad and the guys got their shots away."
Patrick O'Sullivan, Dustin Brown, Tom Preissing and Lubomir Visnovsky also scored in the opener of a six-game homestand, helping the Kings complete a home-and-home sweep of the Blackhawks after Sunday's 3-2 overtime win.
The victory was the Kings' third straight following an eight-game losing streak - but they still have the NHL's worst record at 15-24-2. The offensive output was the team's biggest since Nov. 16, 1995, when they beat the New York Islanders 9-2 at the Forum.
"The power play was working really well for us and it was a great win," Nagy said. "Tonight we played like a team. We wanted to do the simple things - just shoot the puck right away and look for rebounds. That's what we've got to do every night."
Martin Lapointe and Patrick Sharp scored for the Blackhawks, who had won four in a row before these back-to-back losses against the Kings.
"Anytime you give up five power-play goals, you're not going to win," Chicago defenceman Duncan Keith said. "We have to forget about this one right away, but we also have to learn what we did wrong out there."
Nagy's one-timer from the top of the right circle caromed off the skate of Chicago rookie Adam Burish and right to a wide-open Preissing, who beat Khabibulin to the stick side with a 30-foot wrist shot from the slot 10 seconds after Sharp was sent off for hooking Brown.
Nagy tied the score 2-all at 11:01, just 13 seconds after Sharp's power-play goal had given Chicago a 2-1 lead. Blackhawks defenceman Magnus Johansson knocked down the puck with his glove in the left circle, but Nagy got possession and swooped in on Khabibulin before beating him with a 15-foot wrist shot.
O'Sullivan put the Kings ahead to stay less than 2 1/2 minutes later with a short backhander through Khabibulin's legs while Danny Richmond was off for tripping Michal Handzus.
Nagy got his second of the game at 15:35, using defenceman Dustin Byfuglien as a screen and beating Khabibulin to the stick side with a 25-foot wrist shot while Petri Kontiola was off for hooking Preissing.
"Nagy and Frolov in particular were doing a good a great job," Preissing said. "The key to our power play is when those two are on. Those are two guys who we count on to score almost every game."
After Nagy's second goal, coach Denis Savard pulled Khabibulin for only the second time this season and first time since Nov. 4, when he allowed three goals on six shots through the first period of a 5-2 home loss against Nashville.
Patrick Lalime gave up five goals over the final two periods, one by Frolov 28 seconds after the first intermission and another by Nagy 16 seconds after the second intermission - completing Nagy's hat trick.
Frolov made it 6-2 at 15:16 of the second period with his 100th NHL goal, converting Kyle Calder's pass through the crease at 15:16 of the second after Johansson was sent off for slashing Calder.
Notes: The Blackhawks played on the road on New Year's Day for the first time since 1975, when the New York Rangers beat them 6-2. Their overall record on Jan. 1 is 18-20 with seven ties. ... The Kings played at home on New Year's Day for the first time since 1979, when they beat Colorado 5-3 at the Forum. Their overall record on Jan. 1 is 8-2 with one tie. ... The Blackhawks had not allowed more than two power-play goals in any of their previous 37 games this season.