The Los Angeles Kings need one more win to eliminate the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and advance to the Cup Final for the second time in the last three years.
L.A. earned a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference final with a 5-2 victory over Chicago in Monday night’s Game 4 at Staples Center.
This isn’t an unfamiliar position for the Blackhawks, who overcame a 3-1 series deficit to eliminate the rival Detroit Red Wings in last year’s Western Conference semifinals. With that said, this Kings team is far superior to the 2012-13 Red Wings.
The Kings jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead with goals from Jake Muzzin, Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown. They extended their lead to 4-0 in the second period with a goal from Drew Doughty, who tied P.K. Subban for the playoff lead in scoring among defensemen with 13 points.
The Blackhawks made it interesting when Bryan Bickell trimmed the Kings’ lead to 4-2 with a goal at 9:29 of the third period, but L.A. goaltender Jonathan Quick shut the door for the remainder of regulation. He finished with 22 saves.
The series will resume Wednesday in Chicago for Game 5. The Blackhawks eliminated the Kings in Game 5 at the United Center to clinch last year’s Western Conference title. Los Angeles now has that same opportunity.