LOS ANGELES — Despite twice leading the game by one goal, turnovers proved too costly for the Los Angeles Kings, who dropped a critical 3-2 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of their Western Conference Final series.
With the loss, the Kings’ backs are against the wall heading into Game 5 in Chicago on Saturday (5:00 PM PDT, NBC), with the Blackhawks holding both a commanding 3-1 lead in the series along with all the momentum.
The Kings came out of the gate well in the first period, looking like they had their act together. Defenseman Slava Voynov gave them a 1-0 lead on a slap shot from the top of the slot at 3:28.
The Kings continued to play well, but Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell got the puck at the Kings’ blue line, and moved to the top of the slot, where he let go with a wrist shot that knuckled towards Quick, beating him off his glove and into the net. It was a shot that Quick should have made the save on, and it tied the game at 13:16.
Dustin Penner gave the Kings a 2-1 lead at 2:12 of the second period, when he knocked in a rebound in the crease after forward Jeff Carter flew down right wing, and into the right circle before spinning and backhanding the puck on net. Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford made the initial save, but could not stop Penner.
But that was all she wrote for the Kings. Indeed, after the goal, the Blackhawks clamped down, keeping the Kings bottled up on the perimeter, denying them chances around the net.
Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane tied the game at the 18:21 mark on a tap-in in the crease. The scoring chance came after the best shift of the game by either team, when Chicago center Jonathan Toews, along with Kane and Bickell, took control behind the Kings’ net. They outworked the Kings along the boards and in the corners, and finally got the puck out to Chicago defenseman Nicklas Hjalmarsson at the top of the slot. He fired a slap shot that was deflected in front by Bickell. The puck trickled behind Quick, and Kane tapped it into the empty net, with Quick down and out.
Just over one minute into the third period, Kings forward Brad Richardson coughed up the puck at the Chicago blue line—one of many turnovers by the Kings, and the Blackhawks immediately turned it up ice, catching the Kings in what was now a bad line change due to the turnover. On a two-on-one break, Chicago forward Marian Hossa took a pass from center Michal Handzus in the right circle, and he one-timed a shot into the gaping right side of the net at the 1:10 mark for the game-winning goal.
The Blackhawks totally dominated the third period, limiting the Kings to just two, non-threatening shots in the period.
- The Kings home-game winning streak was snapped at 15 (seven in regular season and eight in the post-season).
- The last time the Kings lost at home was March 23 vs. Vancouver. The Kings have trailed 1-3 in a series eleven times (won once in the 1989 Division Semifinals vs. Edmonton).
- The Kings have now killed 24-of-25 penalties at home.
- Voynov now has eight points in the last seven games (three goals, five assists).
- Carter has twelve points in the last 14 games (six goals, six assists).
- Tyler Toffoli has four points in the last three games (goal, three assists)
- Anze Kopitar was 10/17 in the face-off circle (58.8%), but recorded just one shot on goal in the game.
- Dustin Brown was credited with four hits in the game, but no shots on goal.
- This game was the Kings’ 37th playoff game in the last two years (most in the NHL).
Raw Audio Interviews
(Extraneous material and dead air have been removed; click on the arrow to listen):
Dustin Brown (4:01)
Drew Doughty (2:29)
Rob Scuderi (2:02)
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