Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 4, Kings 1

CHICAGO – Here's a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center on Monday:

How it happened: The Blackhawks separated themselves from the Kings during the first five minutes of the second period. With the game tied 1-1, the Blackhawks had four quality scoring chances and converted on two. Duncan Keith put Chicago up 2-1 with a power-play goal 1 minute, 37 seconds in before Niklas Hjalmarsson added to the lead with a marker from the slot at 2:41. Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling made 31 saves. The Blackhawks also received goals from Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa. Jake Muzzin accounted for the Kings' lone goal. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 36 saves.

What it means: The Blackhawks' playoff outlook could have looked a lot of different if they had lost to the Winnipeg Jets and Kings on consecutive days. Instead, the Blackhawks won both games and are headed in the right direction with six games remaining, improving to 46-24-6. They have 98 points after 76 games and moved within a point of the St. Louis Blues for second place in the Central Division. The Blues have 99 points through 76 games. The Nashville Predators are in first place with 102 points through 77 games. The Blackhawks lead the Minnesota Wild by three points. The Kings, meanwhile, dropped to 37-25-14 and finished their five-game road trip with a 3-2-0 record.

Player of the game: Hjalmarsson continued to improve his goal differential for March. He has a plus-11 goal differential in 5-on-5 play for the month.

Stat of the game: The Kings came into the game allowing a league-low 27 shots on goal per game. The Blackhawks had 29 after just two periods and finished with 40.

What's next: The Blackhawks remain home and play the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. The Blackhawks are 0-1-1 against the Canucks this season.