Kings erupt for six straight goals to finally solve 'Hawks, tie series
MAY 22, 2014 12:15a ET
CHICAGO -- The message was simple: The home team can't win every game on their own ice. Eventually, someone has to beat them.
And once they were down, there was no coming back.
The Kings scored six unanswered goals, five in the third period alone, to defeat the Blackhawks 6-2 and even the Western Conference Finals at 1-1 on Wednesday night at the United Center in Chicago.
Jeff Carter scored a hat trick and the Kings got two power-play goals against the league's top penalty-kill unit. The Blackhawks had given up just four power-play goals coming into the game but the way the L.A. power-play unit was playing, the Kings were probably only a couple more penalties away from doubling that number.
"We're not completely happy with ourselves, but that was our goal coming in, to at least steal one," said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. "It's tough to win in this building, I don't think anyone in here had ever won a playoff game in this building, so we did a good job at that, but now we're going home to our own fans, our home rink, and we've got to win two games there."
A 6-2 victory in a building that hasn't seen a loss since the regular season is uplifting, yes, but the Kings struggled at the onset, falling behind 2-0. They pressed, they gave up odd-man rushes and forced goaltender Jonathan Quick to pick up the bulk of the work.
But the Kings have that odd knack for comeback wins. A team's most valuable asset in the playoffs is their ability to make adjustments. The necessary modifications were seen instantly. They shut down the Blackhawks and kept the puck in the attacking zone throughout nearly the entire third period. The defense created offensive chances and the Kings capitalized on every one.
"Maybe we're a little comfortable being behind," said center Jarret Stoll. "We're used to it I guess. You never quit, you can't quit. Crazy things can happen when you score. You can't quit until it's over and that's all it is."
It was the fourth time in club history the Kings scored five goals in the third period of a playoff game, doing so for the first time since 1993.
"I really liked how we played for 38 minutes," said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville. "We did everything we were looking to do. They got a little momentum at the end of the period scoring a big goal for them on an innocent play, gave them some life."
After struggling desperately for something resembling an offensive spark, Justin Williams finally provided it late in the second period.
The goal, Williams' sixth in the postseason, cut the lead 2-1 and while it wasn't an emphatic game-changing goal, it was the type that was just enough to finally build some momentum.
"It was a huge goal for us," Carter said. "To be honest with you, I thought we were a little flat heading up to that goal. We got a bounce, the guys worked hard to get to the net. Gave us a little bit of extra energy going into the third."
Carter's hat trick was awarded retroactively as the scoring was changed on the Kings' game-tying goal. Initially awarded to Doughty, it was later determined that it was redirected off the stick of Carter.
It was the second time he's scored three in a playoff game and the 11th postseason hat trick for an L.A. player in club history.
All it took was one period. Just 20 minutes of brilliantly dominating hockey and it changed the course of the series.
"I think this is a huge game for our approach, I guess, our psyche. Kind of like slaying the mythical dragon," said Kings captain Dustin Brown. "We've been dominated by this team over over last couple of years. To come in here and get a win in their building with the type of home record they have, I think gives us a boost in confidence."