Hockey / Sports

The Los Angeles Kings' Tyler Toffoli (73) scores on a breakaway against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) to in the second period in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday, May 24, 2014. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Kings dominate Blackhawks 4-3 to take 2-1 series lead

LOS ANGELES -- Jonathan Toews wanted the Blackhawks to get angry and "play pissed off" against the Kings in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.

It turns out there was plenty of anger coming from the Hawks, but it was over the way they performed during a 4-3 loss to the Kings on Saturday night that pushed them into a 2-1 deficit in the best-of-seven series that will continue here on Monday.

Imagine how peeved Toews will be for Game 4 after the Hawks were outclassed Saturday by an inspired Kings squad that senses blood after giving itself an opportunity to take a commanding lead over the defending Stanley Cup champions before the series heads back to Chicago for Game 5.

Toews did everything he could as he played with an edge all game and had two goals in the first period, but his Hawks teammates did not follow suit as the Kings slowly took command of Game 3 and the series.

"We know we can find ourselves out of this tough situation," Toews said. "It's not ideal, it's not exactly what we wanted, to go down 2-1. It's a good team over there. We know what we have to do. We have our work cut out for us.

"Every game is a must-win. But now the motivation and the reason to give everything we have is very clear. It's now or never. We want to tie this series up and put ourselves in a good spot."

Jeff Carter had a goal and two assists, Drew Doughty a goal and an assist, Slava Voynov and Tyler Toffoli scored. Jonathan Quick came up big in goal to hand the Hawks their 10th consecutive loss in the first road game of a postseason series dating to 2010.

Corey Crawford suffered the loss in goal as the Hawks lost battles all over the ice while at even strength and on special teams.

Not long after rock guitarist Slash tore into the national anthem at center ice, the first penalty of the game was called -- on the Hawks' Michal Handzus for closing his hand on the puck -- and it resulted in goals from each team.

Toews gave the Hawks on the lead when he stripped Justin Williams of the puck at the blue line, raced into the Kings zone and sent the puck past Quick to the glove side.

The one problem: The Kings were still on the power play and Voynov cashed in 50 seconds later. The defenseman hesitated with the puck to allow a shooting lane to open and then fired it past Crawford's glove.

Later in the opening period, Toews notched his second of the game when he battled in front of the net and pounded on a rebound of a Michal Rozsival shot. Toews kicked the puck to his stick and flipped it in for his first multi-goal game since March 6 against the Blue Jackets.

In the second, a defensive lapse cost the Hawks the lead when they allowed Carter to set up shop in the slot and the center banged home a centering pass from Tanner Pearson to make it 2-2.

The Hawks had an opportunity to regain the lead when Pearson was sent off for high sticking Duncan Keith but the power play went nowhere. Shortly after it expired, Toffoli raced in to the Hawks zone, split defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya and slid a forehanded shot through Crawford's pads to give the Kings their first lead.

In the third, Doughty put the game away with a rocket from the point past a screened Crawford. Patrick Sharp narrowed things to 4-3 in the final seconds to complete the scoring but it was too little, far too late.

"We're pushing for another level every single game," Toews said. "It wasn't good enough (Saturday). We'll keep working on finding that next level in Game 4."

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

----


Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus