The 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs roll on. On Wednesday, May 21, 2014, the hockey world was witness to an incredible comeback win by the Los Angeles Kings in Gm 2 of the Western Conference final. The Kings were down 2-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks, late in the second period. When Justin Williams scored for the Kings, with just 1:46 remaining in the period, few could have predicted the deluge of goals that would follow. The third period was one for the ages.
Still trailing 2-1 and with his team on the power play, Jeff Carter tipped in Drew Doughty's point shot at 1:37 of the third period to tie the game 2-2. Just minutes later, Jake Muzzin hammered home a power play goal to give the Kings their first lead of the game. With the life noticeably having been sucked out of the sold-out United Center in Chicago, the Kings continued to dominate. Tyler Toffoli scored at 8:59 to make it 4-2. Jeff Carter would then score two more goals in the period to finish off a most stunning comeback win. Six straight unanswered goals in the game; five of them coming in the final period. Final score, Kings 6 Blackhawks 2.
Los Angeles has now wrested home-ice advantage from Chicago. It is now the Kings whom can win this series without winning another game in Chicago, and it is now the Blackhawks whom must win a game in Los Angeles, in order to win the series. On this night, the Blackhawks were the better team for 40 of the 60 mins, but that final 20 mins did them in. Once the momentum shifted in favor of the Kings, it did not take them long to start skating downhill on the Blackhawks and take the game over. It is now up to the defending Stanley Cup champs to make the next strategic adjustment, and tilt the series back in their favor. It will not be an easy task, as the next two games will be played in Los Angeles on Saturday night, and Monday night.
Jeff Carter had four points (3G, 1A) in the third period, which set a team record, and tied the NHL record, for points in third period of a playoff game. Carter's postseason hat trick was the 11th in Kings history. This is the fourth time in team history, that the Kings have scored 5 goals in the third period of a playoff game.
This series is now tied 1-1, and far from over. The Kings must now keep their noses to the grindstone, and the Blackhawks must stay patient and wait for their chances. Game 2 was a forgettable nightmare for Blackhawks fans, but for Kings fans; a moment so memorable, they will talk about for years to come. Every coin has two sides. Sit back and enjoy the ride. This is what playoff hockey is all about.
Three Stars of the game - #1 Jeff Carter (Kings), #2 Jonathan Quick (Kings), #3 Ben Smith (Blackhawks)
Kings forward line combinations in Game 2 vs Chicago:
Blackhawks forward line combinations: