L.A. Kings bounce back to even conference final

Los Angeles Kings defenceman Jake Muzzin (middle) celebrates with teammates Marian Gaborik (12) and...

Los Angeles Kings defenceman Jake Muzzin (middle) celebrates with teammates Marian Gaborik (12) and Alec Martinez after scoring against the Chicago Blackhawks during Game 2of the Western Conference final at United Center. (Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:07 PM ET

CHICAGO - The Los Angeles Kings don’t have to call the Chicago Blackhawks their daddy anymore.

After two years worth of humbling and frustrating results, they finally figured out a way to shoot down their nemesis.

And they did it in rather spectacular fashion, roaring back from a 2-0 deficit with six straight goals in the final 21:46 to post a 6-2 victory, evening their Western Conference final 1-1 and sending the entire city of Chicago into stunned silence.

The win represents a major breakthrough for a Kings team that had lost 10 of its previous 12 games to the Blackhawks -- 0-4 during the regular season and playoffs this year, 1-4 in last year’s conference final and 1-2 last season.

There was enough evidence on the table to make a pretty strong argument that Chicago was simply better, that the Kings didn’t have an answer.

And when the Hawks were 1:46 away from taking a 2-0 lead into the second intermission, the game, if not the series, looked pretty close to over.

But the Kings have shown a remarkable ability to get up off the canvas and fight their way out of trouble in these playoffs, overcoming a 3-0 series deficit in Round 1 against San Jose and a staving off elimination in Games 6 and 7 against the Ducks.

So being a couple of goals down, and facing the prospect of going down 2-0 in the series, wasn’t freaking anyone out.

The Hawks, on the other hand ... they freaked out.

The defending Stanley Cup champions, who came into the game with a perfect 7-0 home record, turned in an epic and uncharacteristic collapse.

Bad penalties, mental breakdowns, average goaltending all combined to turn this series on its ear.

The Kings turned up the heat and this time it was Chicago that didn’t have an answer.

It began late in the second, when the Kings needed something, anything, to go their way on a night when the Hawks were in full flight.

They got it late in the second when a centring pass from Mike Richards hit Justin Williams on the skate and dribbled through Corey Crawford. It was ugly, it was lucky and it changed the game. It gave the Kings all the lift they needed heading into the third.

Sure enough, cue the comeback.

L.A. drew a penalty (Brandon Bollig for interference) and tied it 2-2 on the ensuing power play when Jeff Carter deflected a Drew Doughty wrister from the point at 1:37.

At 4:04, with Chicago serving a too many men penalty, the Kings took their first lead of the series when Jake Muzzin put one over Crawford’s shoulder at 4:04.

The avalanche continued with Tyler Toffoli making it 4-2 at 8:59 and Carter making it 5-2 at 14:46 and 6-2 with an empty netter.

All this after Chicago was skating circles around them for the first 38 minutes.

The Kings got windburned in the first period, taking four minor penalties in an attempt to slow down an energized Hawks team that seemed to have an extra gear. Willie Mitchell went off for hooking at 3:53, Matt Greene took two for holding at 5:14, Mitchell went off again for crosschecking and Doughty completed the cycle when he took two for holding at 18:48.

No surprise, then, that Chicago took the early lead, going up 1-0 when Nick Leddy scored on a beautiful top shelf backhand during Mitchell’s second minor.

The Kings, 8-0 coming into the game when scoring the first goal, took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

The Hawks went up 2-0 early in the second period on a highlight reel special, starting with a Johhny Oduya stretch pass that Bollig, whose one-touch pass to Ben Smith at the Los Angeles blueline sent the winger in alone on Jonathan Quick.

For Chicago, it was all downhill from there.


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