LOS ANGELES – The Kings wanted a strong start in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final and by the end of the first period, they scored three goals and held Chicago scoreless. A "strong start" is an understatement of what the home team delivered.
Jake Muzzin was first on the scoreboard with a power play wrist shot, then Marian Gaborik tipped in a goal after crashing the net. To wrap up the first period, Dustin Brown found an open side of the net during another Kings power play.
Drew Doughty blasted in a laser of a shot from the point during the second period to give the Kings a daunting 4-0 lead. In the same period, Chicago's Brandon Saad was finally able to get his team in the game, and the Blackhawks were able to score again in the third. An empty net goal from Tanner Pearson late in the game sealed the victory for the Kings.
There did not seem to be a sense of control from the Blackhawks, despite advanced statistics indicating otherwise. Part of the reason for this was the high number of shots blocked by Kings players. The Kings registered 23 blocked shots, and Chicago only managed to block 12.
Moreover, the Kings controlled 58% of the face-offs, and importantly, scored on 2 out of 3 power plays (Chicago's power play was 0 for 3).
Jonathan Quick stopped 22 shots, and along with essentially the entire Kings lineup, played excellent defense for an entire 60 minutes. Chicago forward Patrick Kane was able to get an assist during the game, but was once again kept from scoring.
Los Angeles now possesses a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference Final, but despite last night's dominating win, a victory tomorrow night in Chicago will be their biggest test yet. The Blackhawks were down 3 games to 1 in their second round of playoffs last year, and clawed their way back - all the way to the Stanley Cup.
The Kings expect to encounter a yet-unseen level of desperation from the Blackhawks tomorrow night, and will have to increase their own level of play to prevent this series from slipping out of their grasp.
Puck drop is scheduled for 5 PM, PST tomorrow night.