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Hawks edge Kings to take 3-1 series lead
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Chicago grabbed a stranglehold in the Western Conference finals against Los Angeles by doing what no other team had done in the playoffs: beat the Kings on their home ice.
Marian Hossa scored the winner early in the third and the Blackhawks locked down on defense in the final period to take a 3-2 win in Game 4 from the Staples Center.
With the win, Chicago now holds a 3-1 lead in this best-of-seven series and can return to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since winning it all in 2010 with a victory at home on Saturday in Game 5.
After taking the lead just 1:10 into the third, Chicago limited the Kings to just two shots on net and killed off a power play, the 54th successful kill in 56 times shorthanded in the playoffs.
"I think our whole team game was where we were hoping to be last game," said Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville. "But I thought we got contributions across the board, especially the guys that lugged a lot of minutes down there, did a real good job of having a good gap, getting some clears, strong in front of the net."
Bryan Bickell posted a goal and an assist, while Patrick Kane also scored for the Blackhawks, who got 19 saves from Corey Crawford in the win.
Dustin Penner and Slava Voynov scored for the Kings, who had won all eight home games in the playoffs coming into Thursday, including a 3-1 win in Game 3 of this series on Tuesday.
Jonathan Quick turned away 25 shots for Los Angeles, which will have to rally with three straight wins if it wants to defend its Stanley Cup crown.
"We just have to take care of our end and go out there and win one on the road," said Quick. "If we lose the next one we're out, we know that, and we'll show up on Saturday."
The deciding goal came when the Kings went for a quick line change and the Blackhawks took advantage. Johnny Oduya fired a quick pass out of his end to Michal Handzus in the neutral zone. Handzus took the puck in down the left wing and fired it over to the right where Hossa one-timed it home for his seventh of the playoffs.
From there, the Chicago defense did it all as Crawford wasn't tested the rest of the way.
A high-sticking call on Michael Frolik with 4:37 to play gave the Kings a chance to tie the game, but they couldn't even get a shot on goal before the power play expired.
Los Angeles even had trouble getting Quick out of the net late in the game for the extra attacker as the Blackhawks' forecheck kept the pressure in the LA end.
"We played really well defensively after we scored that goal there," said Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson. "We were able to chip the puck out when they got it in and we were playing with a lot of confidence."
The Kings struck at the 3:28 mark to take the early lead as Kyle Clifford picked the puck up behind the net and from the left side he backhanded it to the high slot where Voynov blasted it past Crawford to the stick side for his sixth of the playoffs.
Chicago, though, tied the game just under 10 minutes later after Frolik lifted the puck out of his zone and Bickell picked it up in the neutral zone. With the puck still rolling, Bickell flung it on net. Quick was able to get the glove on it, but not enough as it trickled in for Bickell's eighth of the playoffs.
Bickell nearly gave the Blackhawks the lead with three minutes to play in the first as he found himself down low with the puck, but Quick was able to come up with the stop.
Los Angeles scored quickly to open the second period for a 2-1 lead. Jeff Carter worked the puck down the right wing with a defender draped over him and tried to get a backhand on net. The puck slid off his stick, but went to the front where Penner swiped it in for his third of the playoffs at 2:12.
Justin Williams found himself on a breakaway just over two minutes later, but Crawford used a poke check as Williams switched to the backhand to keep the puck out of the net.
Chicago had a 5-on-3 advantage for 53 seconds as Anze Kopitar took a delay of game call for flipping the puck over the glass with Matt Greene in the box for hooking. Los Angeles did a good job of keeping Chicago from setting up and the best chance came on a Nick Leddy left point shot just after the first penalty expired, with Quick gloving the puck to keep the lead.
The Blackhawks were pressing in the LA end late in the second period and were able to tie the game. Hjalmarsson fired a shot on net from the high slot that Bickell, tussling with a defender in front, tipped on net. The puck got behind Quick and Kane tapped it in just before it crossed the goal line for his third of the playoffs with 1:39 to play.
Chicago went 0-for-4 on the power play, while Los Angeles was 0-for-3 ... The Blackhawks played the game without defenseman Duncan Keith, who was handed a one-game suspension on Wednesday due to his slash to the face of Carter in Game 3 ... Hjalmarsson had two assists in the game ... Kings center Mike Richards sat out again with a head injury he suffered in Game 1 of this series.
06/07 00:48:45 ET