The Chicago Blackhawks stunned the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday at Staples Center, taking a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference finals with a 3-2 victory.
Marian Hossa's goal in the third period was the difference.
The Kings struck early. At the 3:28 mark in the first period, Slava Voynov once again came up big for the team as he swung home a 40-foot slap shot, assisted by Kyle Clifford and Colin Fraser.
The one and only Phil Jackson was apparently flipping back and forth between hockey and basketball, as the legendary Los Angeles Lakers coach tweeted:
Tough to watch Kings/BHawks and Spurs/Heat game at same time. Did catch Voynov’s goal early on-now on to hoops— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) June 7, 2013
At 4:39, Chicago's Andrew Shaw was given two minutes for slashing Tyler Toffoli, but on the ensuing power play, the Kings could not even get off a shot on goal. Four minutes later, Los Angeles' Jarret Stoll was whistled for holding Patrick Kane, but the Blackhawks' only shot on goal was saved by Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.
However, the Blackhawks knotted it up at the 13:16 mark off a 50-footer by Bryan Bickell. The assists went to Michael Frolik and Niklas Hjalmarsson.
The Blackhawks tweeted:
Wow, Bickell's magical postseason continues! 1-1 off a wrister that Quick gets in front of but can't stop. 8th of the playoffs.— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) June 7, 2013
Both teams battled back and forth before the the first intermission.
Through one period of play, the Blackhawks out-shot the Kings, 11-10, but Los Angeles had an 11-8 advantage in hits. They combined for only five blocked shots, as not a whole lot of pressure was put on goal throughout the first 20 minutes of action.
Early in the second period, the Kings struck again, as Dustin Penner flicked home an eight-foot wrist shot off assists from Jeff Carter and Toffoli.
The Kings had the lead at home, 2-1.
Arash Markazi of ESPN LA tweeted inside Staples Center:
A loud "Penner!" chant after the goal. Pennercakes for everyone.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 7, 2013
At the 4:40 mark in the second period, the Kings' Matt Greene was given two minutes for hooking Frolik, but a 10-foot shot on goal by Shaw was saved by Quick. A minute later, Anze Kopitar was given two minutes for delaying the game (puck over the glass), but even with the extra time, Chicago couldn't capitalize on the power play.
Then, the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane was whistled for hooking Justin Williams. But yet again, Los Angeles wasn't able to convert on the power play.
Chicago found the net again inside two minutes to play in the second period, as Kane scored on a tap-in off the rebound, assisted by Bickell and Hjalmarsson.
Yes, Kane. The 24-year-old scored his first goal since May 20.
Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com quipped:
Hopefully it's like basketball in that a layup will lead to Kane scoring 40 points.— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) June 7, 2013
With one minute remaining in the second period, the Kings' Robyn Regehr was whistled for interference. The Blackhawks entered the break still on the power play.
Interestingly enough, Chicago scored just 10 seconds after its power play was over in the third period, as Marian Hossa connected on a 32-foot slap shot off assists from Michal Handzus and Johnny Oduya.
The Blackhawks led early in the third period, 3-2.
The Kings tweeted:
1 minute into the 3rd, Handzus to Hossa who rifles one home. Hawks up 3-2, their first lead of the game.— LA Kings (@LAKings) June 7, 2013
With under four minutes to go, Frolik was given two minutes for high-sticking Dustin Brown, setting up a last-gasp attempt for Los Angeles on the power play. But the Kings managed only two shots, which were both blocked by the Blackhawks.
Los Angeles finished 0-for-3 on the power play on Thursday. The Blackhawks out-shot the Kings, 28-21.
The series heads back to Chicago now. Game 5 will be played on Saturday.