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Blackhawks take 1-0 lead behind play of Crawford in 3-1 win over Kings


The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 on Sunday afternoon to take a 1-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals. Game 2 is Wednesday night at the United Center.

The Blackhawks came out and dictated the pace of play in the first period. After getting the first power play, the second power play unit of the Blackhawks was able to keep the puck in the zone wearing out the penalty kill of the Kings. Marian Hossa found Nick Leddy at the point in the waning seconds of the power play. Leddy fired a bomb from the point that was redirected at the top of the crease by Brandon Saad to give the Blackhawks the lead at 14:46 with two seconds left on the power play.

In the second period, it would be the same story similar to every second period during the playoffs this year for the Blackhawks which featured the Kings dominating play up and down the ice. However, it appeared that the Blackhawks extended the lead at 3:22 when Jonathan Toews scored as he was barreling over Jonathan Quick. The goal would be waved off due to incidental contact that Toews did not avoid even though it was called a goal on the ice. The Kings wouldn’t waste any time tying the game up as Tanner Pearson threw a pass to the front of the net that Tyler Toffoli redirected past Corey Crawford for his fourth goal of the playoffs at 4:35. The Kings continued to dominate the play as they racked up a 17-6 edge in shots in the second period. However, Crawford was great stopping Marian Gaborik and Mike Richards point blank. The Blackhawks would escape with the lead when Saad made a cross ice pass in the offensive zone to find Duncan Keith at the point. Keith fired a shot that went off the shaft of the stick of Trevor Lewis hit the ice and bounced like a tennis ball over the glove of Quick at 11:54.

The third period featured the Blackhawks getting the better of the play as they racked up a 7-4 edge in shots. After Bryan Bickell took a hit to make a play the Blackhawks had a 3 on 1 as Johnny Oduya entered the zone at the slot passing to Toews who converted on a one timer past a sprawling Quick to give the Blackhawks a two goal cushion at 16:10.

What it means

The Blackhawks improve to 7-0 at home in the playoffs. For the second year in a row, the Blackhawks take Game 1 against the Kings.

3 stars of the game

3. Tyler Toffoli- Toffoli scored one goal and continued his strong play in the playoffs. However, he hit the post on a breakaway in the third period that would have tied the game. Toffoli has 8 points in 15 games in the playoffs.

2. Corey Crawford- Yet again Crawford found himself tested in the second period as he made 16 saves including several amazing ones. This is the 8th time Crawford has allowed 2 goals or less in a win in the playoffs. Crawford made 25 saves on 26 shots.

1. Brandon Saad- It has been a much better playoff for Saad this go around as he has nine points in 13 games. Saad tallied one goal and one assist. In addition to scoring his third goal of the playoffs, Saad was a plus one and had three takeaways.

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