May 26, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings left wing Tanner Pearson (70) celebrates with teammates Jeff Carter (77) and Tyler Toffoli (73) after scoring an empty-net goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period in game four of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Kings Strangle Chicago With Game Four Victory

LA beats Chicago, that is all. The Los Angeles Kings destroyed the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 off of 3 goals in the first period. The series is now 3-1 in favor of the Kings, which is a complete 180 from last season’s Western Conference Finals. Right now, the Kings are having their revenge. The Kings got an opportunity to jump into the scoring column first and it came at the perfect time. After Anze Kopitar gave up a penalty, the game immediately went 4-on-4 when Marian Hossa ran into Jonathan Quick in net for interference. Both teams could not of anything noteworthy with each down a man, but when the Kings went to full strength, they nurtured the puck in their zone, waiting for the best opportunity. That came when Jake Muzzin got the puck in the high slot and fired it past Corey Crawford to make it 1-0 in favor of Los Angeles.

A bit later, Duncan Keith made a uncharacteristic move when he lost the puck in the corner to Anze Kopitar, who then shot it on net. Marian Gaborik was right there in front of Crawford and tipped it in to have the Kings go up 2-0. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was furious at the Blackhawk’s game and immediately called a timeout. That was when “CRAW-FORD, CRAW-FORD!” rained down from Staples Center. LA was giving up stupid penalties early, but soon Chicago was infected with ‘Dumbpenaltyitis’ as Patrick Sharp went to the box for roughing Jarret Stoll. LA jumped on their advantage. Justin Williams shot it in with a Dustin Brown tip-in for his sixth goal of the playoffs. It was an unbelievable 3-0 first period lead for LA. The second period was more of the same from the Kings, but also a little bit of life injected into the Blackhawks. Just after the Kings’ third successful penalty kill, they continued their offensive pressure and made several great passes to set up Drew Doughty by the top of the right circle. The Kings D-Man shot it into crossing traffic and past Crawford. Momentum was all LA’s with the 4-0 lead. But hold on, Chicago scored on one of their few ferocious attacks less than two minutes later, which caught LA dazed and confused in the defensive zone. A shot by Chicago deflected in when Brandon Saad redirected a Michael Rozsival attempt, to make it 4-1. There was finally life in the Blackhawks, but they were still in a very big hole. The Kings kept the defensive pressure on, but nearly halfway through the third period, Bryan Bickell back handed the puck into the net after a furious barrage of shots from Chicago. Quick was great at getting to the majority of them, but the puck bounced Bickell’s way and just like that, Chicago was back in the game. Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, nothing else came of their late charge. Chicago pulled Crawford, once again, with more than two minutes left in the game. The Blackhawks had good possession in the end, but one finally hustle play by Tanner Pearson tracking down a Jeff Carter pass got him the empty netter to solidify the 5-2 win. The Kings now have a heavy 3-1 series advantage going back to Chicago.

Just two final notes to end this: 1. The Kings have scored 15 goals in the last three games and 2. they only need one more win for a return to the Stanley Cup Finals. Go Kings Go. Mike W.R. Twitter: @TheBigDisco

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