LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04: Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings checks Johnny Oduya #27 of the Chicago Blackhawks in the neutral zone in the first period of Game Three of the Western Conference Final during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on June 4, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Justin Williams and Slava Voynov gave the Los Angeles Kings a 2-0 cushion, and thanks to the stellar goaltending of Jonathan Quick, the Chicago Blackhawks couldn’t quite make up the deficit as the Kings won Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals by a score of 3-1.
The first period started out incredibly well for the Kings. Much like in the first period of Game 2, where they got the majority of the chances and looked ready to play despite missing Mike Richards due to injury, and they got on the board early. Justin Williams continued his astounding play as of late with a goal, after he forechecked Nick Leddy and stripped the puck, and then took a beautiful pass from Slava Voynov and fired it past Corey Crawford to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
The Hawks were able to keep the Kings at bay for the rest of the period, but the dominance of the game’s tempo continued into the second period. The team had several fantastic scoring chances, but it was Voynov who again played hero for the Kings, scoring a goal even as his stick broke in half on the shot. The fluke goal gave the Kings a 2-0 lead, but things were about to get incredibly chippy.
Just two minutes later, Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith went to the penalty box for four minutes after taking a one-handed swing with his stick at Kings center Jeff Carter. Carter had to get stitched up because of the play, and even though the Kings weren’t able to score on the ensuing power play, they still kept up their suffocating defense.
The Kings held the Blackhawks to only two shots for the majority of the period, but with less than a minute to go, the tone of the game suddenly changed. The Hawks scored a goal with 34 seconds remaining, thanks to forward Bryan Bickell, who grabbed the puck behind the net and scored a nifty wraparound tally. The play came after Bickell missed the final nine minutes of the first period with an injury, and the Hawks seemed to be inspired with his comeback.
The Blackhawks came out in the third period firing on all cylinders. All four of their lines were generating scoring chances, and Quick was forced onto his toes for the majority of the opening half of the period. Despite a power play near the middle of the frame, the Kings held strong and killed the penalty off.
The Hawks continued to put the pressure on Quick throughout the rest of the period, and there some very close calls. A pass hit Hawks forward Brandon Saad right in the skates on a rush, and if he had kicked it to his stick, it would have been an easy tally for Chicago, but the Kings caught a break when it skidded harmlessly behind the net.
The Kings solidified their win with a third goal after the Hawks pulled their goalie with about 90 second left in the game.
The Kings will try to tie the series up on Thursday night at Staples Center, and will look to keep up their remarkable 15 game home winning streak in the process.