Kings use early blitz to blow away Blackhawks
By Jahmal Corner
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Kings unleashed an early onslaught to blow away the Chicago Blackhawks in a 5-2 win on Monday that moved them to within one victory of the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Kings stormed ahead with three first-period goals that whipped the home Staples Center crowd into a frenzy, and held on to grab a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series.
In a match-up between the past two Stanley Cup champions, the Kings have looked the sharper of the teams in the last three contests and can eliminate the Blackhawks with a Game Five victory when the series shifts back to Chicago on Wednesday.
"The last (win) is always the toughest one," Kings center Anze Kopitar told reporters after finishing with two assists.
"We're going to their building and we're going to have to bring our best. Hopefully, we can continue (to play well)."
A series victory would serve as sweet revenge for the Kings after they were defeated by the Blackhawks in five games at the same stage of the playoffs a year ago.
On Monday, Jake Muzzin, Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown all scored in the first period, and Drew Doughty added another in the second to carry Los Angeles into a 4-0 lead.
The first-period surge was a sequence that featured three goals in just four shots against goaltender Corey Crawford, and it clearly knocked the stuffing out of the Blackhawks. Continued...