The Los Angeles Kings have trailed for much of the Stanley Cup playoffs so far. As such, the Kings may not know how to handle having a cushion in the playoffs, which they proved in the second round against the Anaheim Ducks at first. The Chicago Blackhawks will have to take hope from that, now that the defending Stanley Cup champions are in a hole against the 2012 champions after a 4-3 Game 3 loss on May 24.
Despite previously being up by 1-0 in the Western Conference finals, and up by 2-0 in Game 2 on May 21, the Blackhawks now face a 2-1 series deficit. In this case, the Kings didn't turn a 2-0 hole into a 6-2 slaughter, as they merely came back from 2-1 to win by one goal. Nevertheless, the end result remained the same.
Jeff Carter was a difference maker in both wins, despite not having a hat trick this time. Carter only had one goal, but it was the one that started the Kings' latest rally, as his second period tally tied the score at 2-2. Before the period was over, Tyler Toffoli gave Los Angeles the lead, aided by Carter's second assist of Game 3.
Carter didn't take part in the Kings' insurance goal from Drew Doughty in the third period. Yet that strike turned out to be necessary when Patrick Sharp scored for the Blackhawks with five seconds left. However, all it did was make Game 3 look closer than it really was.
The last time the Kings held a series lead before Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs, they led the Ducks by 2-0 in the second round before dropping the next three games. Of course, that was a more comfortable position for Los Angeles in the end. If the Blackhawks steal Game 4 on the road and then take Game 5 back in Chicago, then they might have to worry.
Nevertheless, the Blackhawks overcame a 2-0 deficit at the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the St. Louis Blues. Yet unlike in that series, Game 4 is on the road and Chicago is facing a proven former champion. Is Los Angeles ready to stay hot before facing elimination in the postseason?