CHICAGO (AP) — Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat have known each other since they were high-scoring junior teammates starting in 2014. On Sunday night, that familiarity paid off again at a higher level.
Strome had two goals and assisted on linemate DeBrincat’s score to help the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-1 on Sunday to end a four-game skid.
DeBrincat set up both of Strome’s goals as the two former offensive whizzes of Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters clicked again and sparked Chicago’s attack.
“We kind of find each other pretty easily” Strome said. “We were excited before the game to get back together. He’s obviously a great player. Tonight he found me a few times and I paid him back with one in the slot. Nice to be back on his line.”
David Kampf and Drake Caggiula also scored as the Blackhawks bounced back after they were shut out in Carolina on Saturday and managed just two goals in their previous three games.
Strome and DeBrincat were successful together last season for the Blackhawks after Strome arrived in a trade from Arizona in late November. They skated on the wings with Ryan Carpenter at center on Sunday, the first time they’ve been on the same line this season.
“A little bit of a reset, I think,” DeBrincat said. “We know what we can do together. Trying to play some good, smart hockey. Get some confidence back and carry it into the next game. It wasn’t going in there for a while, and we got bounces today.”
Robin Lehner made 38 saves and lost a bid for his first shutout with Chicago when Sean Walker scored early in the third period.
Lehner, signed to a one-year contract as a free agent last summer, was solid again. The 28-year old Swede was a Vezina Trophy finalist last season with the New York Islanders.
Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was a healthy scratch for the second time in his career. Rookie Dennis Gilbert took the spot of the 15-year-veteran, who has one goal, no assists and is a minus-5 in nine games.
Jack Campbell blocked 21 shots as Los Angeles lost its third straight and second in two nights, after falling 5-1 at Minnesota on Saturday.
The Kings concluded a four-game trip at 1-3-0. Coach Todd McLellan said his team may need to shuffle some players off its roster to its American Hockey League farm club in Ontario, California.
“This trip was good because it let us know that there are some players that probably can’t play in the league right now,” McLellan said. “So maybe we’ll have to make some changes.
“There’s some veterans that really have to pick up their play. There are some individuals that get a fair amount of ice time that don’t have an impact.”
Strome opened the scoring 2:33 in from the slot after taking a pass from DeBrincat off the right wing. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty slid to the ice to try to block Strome’s quick wrister, but it beat Campbell high on the stick side.
Kampf’s first goal of the season, off Alex Nylander’s nifty backhand pass, made it 2-0 at 2:26 of the second. Nylander drove to the net from the left wing and as he tumbled to the ice, slipped the puck to Kampf as he charged down the slot.
DeBrincat set up Strome again with 4:05 left the second as Chicago increase it to 3-0. DeBrincat slipped from the right side of the net into the circle, then dished to Strome who ripped a shot from the hashmarks past Campbell’s glove.
DeBrincat and Strome clicked again on their next shift with 58 seconds left in the period. After taking Strome’s feed off the backboards, DeBrincat fired a quick shot between Campbell’s pads from the slot.
Walker cut it to 4-1 at 3:35 of the third. The defenseman skated in from the point and fired a shot between Lehner’s pads from the right circle.
Caggiula iced it when a shot deflected in of his right skate with 2:07 left.
NOTES: Kings LW Nikolai Prokhorkin made his NHL debut. The 26-year-old has skated for most his pro career in Russia’s KHL. … Following the game, Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton wasn’t sure if Seabrook would be back in the lineup on Tuesday at Nashville. “We haven’t talked about that,” he said. The 34-year-old Seabrook has played all of his 1,091 NHL games with the Blackhawks since they drafted him in 2003. He’s in the fourth year of an eight-year, $55 million contract with a $6,875,000 annual salary cap hit. … Gilbert, 22, played in his third NHL game and second this season. He was recalled from Rockford of the AHL last week. …The Kings outshot the Blackhawks 16-6 in the third, but it wasn’t nearly enough as Lehner held his ground. “The ‘woe is us’ and the big fat lips that were on the bench in the second, they disappeared,” McLellan said.
Kings: Host Vancouver on Wednesday night.
Blackhawks: At Nashville on Tuesday night.