LOS ANGELES — With their season essentially on the line, a little home cooking was all the Kings would need to climb back into the Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Kings made it 15 wins in a row at Staples Center with a 3-1 victory over the Blackhawks on Tuesday night and now trail the series 2-1.
Game 4 is Thursday at 6 p.m.
“We know the stats of teams that have come back from 3-0 and it is not very good,” said Justin Williams. “I said before the game it wasn’t a must win, but it really was a must win. We responded with a great effort from top to bottom.”
That great effort started with the play of Williams. Just over three minutes into the opening period, Williams got the Kings on the scoreboard with his sixth goal of the playoffs, giving him four in as many games.
“The drive to be the last team standing is what drives me. You want to win a championship, you don’t want to see anyone else raise that Cup over their heads, but you,” Williams added.
“We needed this game bad. Justin comes to play in the big-time games,” said Rob Scuderi.
Hard work and a little bit of good fortune led to the Kings’ second goal. Despite breaking his stick on the shot, Slava Voynov had just enough power to get the puck past Chicago goalie Corey Crawford and give the Kings a 2-0 lead.
“It was a broken-bat single by Voynov that found a way in the net,” Williams said. “Even though Slava doesn’t speak a lot English, he talks a lot on the ice surprisingly. You always know when he is open. He jumped in the play and he has scored some huge goals for us.”
“If you work hard enough, it’s amazing how much good luck you might get. I thought we worked hard that shift and of all the shots we took, we end up getting a broken stick goal,” added said.
Voynov’s five playoff goals this postseason are the most ever by a Kings defenseman and four of them are game-winners.
Shortly after the Voynov goal, the game got a little nasty.
With the play moving up ice, Jeff Carter and Blackhawks Duncan Keith got tangled up.
Keith’s glove fell to the ice and Carter took a swipe at it and Keith retaliated by whacking Carter in the face with his stick, cutting Carter just below the lip. Keith was assessed a double minor for high sticking, much to the dismay of Kings coach Darryl Sutter.
“I didn’t think it was a four-minute penalty,” said Sutter. “I thought it was a wrong call. That’s three head injuries now in the playoffs for us. I don’t know how to answer it. It’s retaliation with a stick. It’s not a high stick (the penalty called on the ice).”
Look for the National Hockey League’s Player Safety Department to review the incident and make a ruling on Wednesday.
The Kings will look to continue their perfection at home on Thursday night with the opportunity to even the series up at two games apiece.