NEW YORK – The Chicago Blackhawks moved one game closer to the Stanley Cup Final with a 3-2 win over the LA Kings Thursday night. Marian Hossa’s goal early the third helped break the Kings’ spell over the west by dealing them their first home loss of the post season.
LA’s Cup defense had been driving along well until the conference finals. The Blackhawks have been able to disengage the offense fin the Kings’ game plan and take advantage of small gaps n the defense.
Friday night the Boston Bruins take their 3-0 series lead to the ice as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4.
CHICAGO 3, LOS ANGELES 2; CHI leads 3-1
Marian Hossa scored the tiebreaking goal 70 seconds into the third period to complete Chicago’s comeback from separate one-goal deficits and push Los Angeles to the brink of elimination.
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Chicago forward Marian Hossa has scored seven goals this postseason, a League-high six of which have given his team the lead (his other tally was a game-tying goal). Twenty-two of Hossa’s 43 career playoff goals (51.2%) have been go-ahead scores. That is the highest percentage among active players with 40 or more postseason goals and the fourth-highest rate in NHL history (also 40-goal minimum). The top three players in that regard are Stephane Richer (54.7%), Dale Hunter (52.4%) and Mike Modano (51.7%). (Elias)
Hossa ranks second on the Blackhawks with 7-7—14, including two game-winning goals, in 16 games this postseason. He also places fifth among active players with 43-68—111, including 10 game-winning scores, in 146 career playoff games.
Chicago forward Bryan Bickell continued his postseason surge with his eighth goal and first multi-point game of the playoffs (1-1—2). Bickell’s eight goals are tied for second in the League (with teammate Patrick Sharp), while his 11 points rank third on the Blackhawks. He has recorded at least one point in each of the first four games of the Western Conference Final (3-2—5).
KANE IS ABLE
Chicago forward Patrick Kane netted the tying goal with 1:39 remaining in the second period to end a seven-game drought. Since scoring the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in the 2010 Final, Kane has recorded just four goals in 29 playoff games – three of which have come in 16 contests this postseason (3-8—11).
VOYNOV LEADS KINGS
Los Angeles defenseman Slava Voynov scored the game-opening goal, his team-leading sixth of the playoffs (tied with Jeff Carter and Justin Williams). Voynov also paces the Kings with 12 points (tied with Carter), four game-winning goals and a +10 rating. His six goals rank first in the League among blueliners, while his 12 points and +10 rating place second among defensemen.
Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford made 19 saves for his 11th victory of the playoffs. Crawford has allowed two goals or fewer in seven of his last eight games, including five straight. He leads the League with a 1.72 goals-against average and ranks third with a .936 save percentage.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Blackhawks became the first team to defeat the Kings at STAPLES Center this postseason.
Los Angeles had won a franchise-record eight consecutive home playoff games (nine including last year) and 15 straight home contests dating to the regular season. The team’s last defeat at STAPLES Center was 75 days prior, a 1-0 loss to Vancouver on March 23.
The Blackhawks have won six of their last seven games . . . Chicago held Los Angeles to two shots in the third period (9-2) . . . The Kings suffered their first loss on home ice this year (regular season and playoffs) when scoring first (22-1-0) . . . Los Angeles forward Tyler Toffoli picked up an assist and has 1-3—4 over his last three games . . . Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick made 25 saves, including a beauty on Patrick Kane midway through the third period.
SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Pittsburgh @ Boston, Game 4, BOS leads 3-0, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS
* The Bruins have won eight of their last nine games, including four straight. They have outscored their opponents, 32-16, during that stretch, including a 14-3 margin over the last four games.
* Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask ranks first in the playoffs with a .940 save percentage and third with a 1.85 goals-against average. He has allowed two goals or fewer in seven of his last eight games.
* The Bruins have an 18-1 lifetime record when holding a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series. They have closed out 13 of those series in Game 4.
* The Penguins have never overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series (0-4). They haven’t been swept since the Bruins beat them in the 1979 Quarterfinals.
* The Penguins are 5-1 in their last six playoff games following an overtime loss.
* Only three teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series: the 1942 Maple Leafs (Stanley Cup Final vs. Red Wings), 1975 Islanders (Quarterfinals vs. Penguins) and 2010 Flyers (Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. Bruins).
* Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, came back from a 3-0 series deficit to defeat Boston’s affiliate, the Providence Bruins, in the second round of this year’s Calder Cup Playoffs.