The Los Angeles Kings took advantage of some undisciplined play by the Chicago Blackhawks and in doing so have moved within one win of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final.
Three first period goals set the tone for the game, and although the Hawks did score twice, there was never really any push-back and the game ended 5-2 in favor of the Kings.
Marian Hossa‘s goaltender interference penalty led to Jake Muzzin‘s power play goal to open the scoring nine minutes in. Just over 2 minutes later they struck again, with Anze Kopitar stealing the puck from Duncan Keith in the Hawks’ corner, and firing a pass out front that was re-directed to the back of the net by Marian Gaborik.
Patrick Sharp‘s needless roughing penalty with just under 5 minutes left in the first led to Dustin Brown‘s eventual game winner. Brown took a short pass from Justin Williams at the top of the crease and tapped home his first goal in 11 games. It put them up 3-0 after 20 minutes.
Drew Doughty made it 4-0 with just over 7 minutes left in the middle stanza, a shot from the point through traffic that appeared to be deflected by Dwight King past Corey Crawford. Doughty was credited with the goal that gave the Los Angeles Kings a 4-0 lead.
Brandon Saad got the Hawks on the board, taking a slick feed from Michal Rozsival and putting the backhander top shelf over the shoulder of Jonathan Quick. There was a faint flicker of hope with just under 7 minutes left in the second.
Bryan Bickell made it a 2 goal game just before the midway point of the third, and even though they pulled Crawford with 3 minutes left, they could get no closer and Tanner Pearson iced it with the empty netter to put the Blackhawks to the brink of elimination.
The Kings are a powerful, large, fast team that seems to be building momentum by the game. Jeff Carter, a Blackhawks killer in games 2 and 3, was pretty quiet (1 assist on the empty netter), but that didn’t matter because the slack was picked up elsewhere.
The Los Angeles Kings mustered just 21 shots on goal, but made the most of their opportunities and cashed in on their chances, while at the other end Quick was his usual self, nearly impenetrable.
Game 5 goes back to Chicago on Wednesday night, the first time the Blackhawks will be fighting for their playoff lives this season.