Los Angeles, CA – Jonathan Quick rebounded from his worst performance of these playoffs, making 19 saves, and the Los Angeles Kings worked their way back into the Western Conference finals with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 from Staples Center.
Quick, who was pulled in the second period after surrendering all four scores on just 17 shots in a 4-2 loss during Sunday's Game 2, allowed only a late second-period marker from Bryan Bickell and then made a game-saving stop on the Chicago winger later in the contest to preserve Tuesday's triumph.
Justin Williams, Slava Voynov and Dwight King lit the lamp for the Kings, who won their ninth consecutive postseason home contest dating back to their Cup- clinching decision against New Jersey nearly one year ago.
"We know the stats of teams that have come back from 3-0 and it's not very good," Williams said. "It was a must win and we responded with a great effort top to bottom. We were just quicker everywhere on the ice. They are a transition team and we just limited their time and space because we were on our toes than our heels."
Corey Crawford was the hard-luck loser after stopping 25 pucks for the Blackhawks, who could have put a stranglehold on this best-of-seven set with a win after taking two in a row on home ice to start.
The series stays in southern California for Game 4 on Thursday.
The Blackhawks amped up their attack -- which only produced 10 shots through 40 minutes of play -- in the final period, but Quick was equal to the task on several occasions.
None was bigger than his blocker save while seated against Bickell at the left post with just over three minutes remaining. The Chicago winger had the entire left half of the net staring him in the face, but rapid reflexes and a little luck from the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner saved the day.
"We don't seem to ride an emotional rollercoaster here which is nice," said Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr. "There's always going to be ups and downs in individual series and even when you look at it, in a game, sometimes it can really swing back and forth and you have to deal with those the right way or you can get too high and too low and you don't want that."
Crawford was called to the bench for an extra skater with 1:07 on the clock, and King took a Jeff Carter carom off the back boards and hit the empty net with 27.3 seconds to go.
"We knew exactly what kind of game they were going to play and that they were going to have more confidence and energy," said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.
Williams beat Crawford with a low shot inside the left post just 3:21 after the opening faceoff.
It could have been worse for the visitors, but Drew Doughty's blistering right-point drive beat Crawford then ricocheted off the far post at the tail end of an LA power play in the final seconds of the first period.
Despite coming up short on their first power-play chance of the second period, the hosts went up 2-0 at 6:37 when Voynov scored from the right circle on a shot which ended up shattering his stick.
Just over a minute later, Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith gave a one-handed slash to the face of Carter -- drawing blood as well as a four-minute infraction -- but the visitors managed to shut down the LA power play and keep it a two-goal margin.
"It was accidental. I wanted to give him a tap but not where I got him. I felt bad," Keith admitted
Chicago then halved its deficit when Bickell emerged from the right corner and beat Quick with a low shot to the far post just 34 seconds before intermission.
Los Angeles improved to 8-0 at home this postseason, three off the NHL record of 11, set by the Edmonton Oilers during their Stanley Cup run in 1988 ... The Kings have also reeled off 15 straight wins on home ice this year, since a 1-0 loss to Vancouver on March 23 ... Voynov's tally was his fifth of these playoffs, setting a new franchise record, and his four game-winning scores also set a club mark for players at any position ... After holding the Blackhawks scoreless on two power-play chances, Los Angeles has killed off 20- of-21 short-handed situations at home this postseason ... The Kings missed center Mike Richards for the second consecutive game due to a head injury suffered in the late stages of Game 1.