LOS ANGELES — The Kings scored twice on the power play in a three-goal first period on their way to a 5-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Tuesday to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference final.
Chicago chipped away after falling behind 4-0 with goals by Brandon Saad and Bryan Bickell but Los Angeles held on and can clinch the best-of-seven series Wednesday in Chicago.
Defenseman Jake Muzzin scored with the man advantage 9:00 into the game and captain Dustin Brown had a power-play goal to put Los Angeles up 3-0 in the first. In between, Marian Gaborik netted his team-high 10th goal of the postseason as the Kings beat Corey Crawford three times on just eight shots in the period.
Muzzin and Drew Doughty each had a goal and an assist and Jonathan Quick made 22 saves for Los Angeles, which is one win from its third Stanley Cup final in franchise history and second in three years.
Tanner Pearson tacked on an empty-net goal for the Kings in the final minute.
Crawford stopped 16 shots for the Blackhawks, who didn't get rolling until they trailed 4-0 late in the second period.
Two days after the Kings gritted out a 4-3 victory over Chicago in Game 3, they won again at Staples Center by scoring three goals on six shots in the first 16 minutes, capping an incredible three-game offensive performance by the lowest-scoring NHL team to make the postseason.
Muzzin's goal was his fifth of a revelatory postseason — the same number scored by Chicago star defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook combined.
First—1, Los Angeles, Muzzin 5 (Doughty, Toffoli), 9:00 (pp). 2, Los Angeles, Gaborik 10 (Kopitar), 11:13. 3, Los Angeles, Brown 3 (Williams, Muzzin), 15:56 (pp). Penalties—Kopitar, LA (hooking), 4:27; Brown, LA (high-sticking), 6:50; Hossa, Chi (goaltender interference), 7:31; Sharp, Chi (roughing), 15:04.
Second—4, Los Angeles, Doughty 3 (Kopitar, Williams), 12:43. 5, Chicago, Saad 4 (Rozsival), 14:03. Penalties—Shaw, Chi (cross-checking), 2:44; Los Angeles bench, served by Williams (too many men), 9:53; Shaw, Chi (holding stick), 19:27; Doughty, LA (roughing), 19:27.
Third—6, Chicago, Bickell 7 (Kane, Toews), 9:29. 7, Los Angeles, Pearson 3 (Carter), 18:58 (en). Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Chicago 7-9-8—24. Los Angeles 8-8-5—21. Power-play opportunities—Chicago 0 of 3; Los Angeles 2 of 3. Goalies—Chicago, Crawford 9-7-0 (20 shots-16 saves). Los Angeles, Quick 11-7-0 (24-22). A—18,468 (18,118). T—2:29. Referees—Dan O'Halloran, Wes McCauley. Linesmen—Derek Amell, Brad Kovachik.
East final: Injured Rangers forward Derek Stepan made the trip to Montreal though his status for tonight's Game 5 was unclear. Stepan suffered a broken jaw in Game 3 and missed Game 4 after having surgery. Also, injured Canadiens goaltender Carey Price did a light skate before the team's optional practice. He has been out with a suspected right knee injury since the second period of Game 1.
Capitals pick MacLellan, Trotz: After missing the playoffs for the first time in seven years, the Capitals hired former Predators coach Barry Trotz and promoted Brian MacLellan to general manager. Trotz was Nashville's coach for the franchise's entire 15-year history until being dropped from the job in April. In Washington, he takes over for Adam Oates, who was fired last month with a season left on his three-year deal. MacLellan replaces George McPhee, who was Washington's GM for 17 years.