LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Kings enjoyed a return to familiar surroundings as they breathed new life into the Western Conference Finals with a 3-1 home victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.
Withdrawn from Game Two after allowing four goals in 29 minutes, goaltender Jonathan Quick was back to his best, making 19 saves as Los Angeles stretched their unbeaten run at the Staples Center in the playoffs.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Kings have now won 15 consecutive home games dating back to March 23, with their latest triumph reducing Chicago’s best-of-seven series lead to 2-1.
“Honestly, we don’t talk about (the home streak) in here at all,” Kings defenseman Matt Greene told reporters.
“For whatever reason, we do a heck of a job at home. I wish we could bottle that up and take it on the road.”
Game Four is also in Los Angeles, where the Kings appear to have restored their confidence following back-to-back losses in Chicago.
The top-seeded Blackhawks had looked in imperious form early in the series and if the Kings are to overcome a 2-0 deficit as they did in their first round match-up against St Louis, they will need to raise their game to a higher level.
“Last year, we were playing at a level that probably few teams have ever played at. This year, we’re finding it more difficult and that’s the nature of playoff hockey,” winger Dustin Brown said of their latest challenge.
Slava Voynov helped lead the offensive charge by setting up Justin Williams for the opening goal just 3:21 into the game as the Kings laid an early foundation for the victory.
Voynov registered the team’s second goal at 6:37 in the second to open a 2-0 advantage.
The Blackhawks battled back in the final minute of the second, when the visitors won a faceoff and Bryan Bickell skated around the back of the net to find a way past Quick.
The Kings held Chicago to just 20 shots on the night but survived some close calls in the third period, including a Blackhawks power-play, before Dwight King notched an empty-netter in the final seconds to seal the win.
Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford finished with 25 saves.
Editing by John O'Brien