Western Final, Game 4: Kings Lose 3-2, CHI leads series 3-1
LOS ANGELES - The hometown Kings entered Game 4 with a lot on the line but considering they were 8-0 at Staples Center in these playoffs, they and their fans had all the confidence in the world that they could turn their Western Final series into a best-of-three. But not everything works out as planned.
The Kings got off to a great start. Slava Voynov continued his solid postseason as he blasted a point shot for his sixth to give Los Angeles the early lead.
The Blackhawks, though, were able to get that one back towards the end of the period as Brian Bickell continued his great postseason by flicking a wrist shot that took a bad bounce past Jonathan Quick and in the net. The goal was Bickell's eighth of the playoffs.
Slightly deterred, Los Angeles was able to rebounded as Dustin Penner potted home his third just 2:12 into the second period to regain the King lead. But Chicago was able to answer late in the period as Patrick Kane jumped on a loose puck and tipped in his first of the series to tie the game once again - this time with 1:39 remaining in the frame.
After exchanging 19 shots apiece through the first 40 minutes, the Hawks broke away as Marian Hossa finished off a great give-and-go (set up by former King Michal Handzus) for his seventh to give Chicago their first lead of the night just 1:10 into the third.
Despite plenty of time left to be played, however, the Kings just could not muster anything. Not even being on home ice could help them as they were outshot 9-2 in the final frame. The fatigue was really starting to show for the silver-and-black as defenseman Robyn Regehr made a couple of near-costly mistakes as did Drew Doughty. Thankfully, Jonathan Quick was able to bail them out but not even the Conn Smythe winner's efforts could get Los Angeles back into the game as the Hawks return home with a 3-1 series lead thanks to the 3-2 win that was not quite as close as they score had indicated.
The Kings had three power play opportunities but failed to deliver on any of them. Jonathan Quick did everything he could to give his team a chance to win but it just was not meant to be on this night.
With the Kings suffering their first loss on home ice in these playoffs, they will now have to face the enviable task of traveling to Chicago where their first win on the road in these playoffs will avoid them from being eliminated.
There is not a lot of optimism being spread around Los Angeles right now but crazier things have happened. With that said, all we can hope for is a significant turnaround in Game 5 for the Kings because right now, that is all they have left to shoot for.