Local News

Chicago,  IL (SportsNetwork.com)  - Duncan Keith registered the winner late in 
the  second  period  and  Corey  Crawford stopped  25  pucks  as  the  Chicago 
Blackhawks  got the jump on the Los Angeles Kings by a 3-1 count in the opener 
of the Western Conference finals from United Center on Sunday. 

Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews added tallies for the Blackhawks, while Marian 
Hossa contributed a pair of assists. 

"I  thought we had  a good first five minutes, but it was even the rest of the 
way.  Every shift  is going  to be  important," said  Chicago head  coach Joel 
Quenneville. 

Tyler  Toffoli provided the sole offense and Jonathan Quick made just 17 saves 
for the Kings, who were coming off a Game 7 road win in Anaheim. 

Los Angeles, which has played 15 postseason games thus far, will have an extra 
day to regroup with Game 2 on tap for Wednesday. 

"We had a chance," Kings forward Mike Richards said. "We shot ourselves in the 
foot a bit on their goals. Give them credit, they're an opportunistic team. We 
made a couple mistakes and they ended up in our net." 

With just over two minutes played in the third, and his club behind by a goal, 
Toffoli was in alone on the right wing, but flipped the puck off the near post 
after crossing through the middle to pull Crawford out of position. 

The Blackhawks  finally  gained  the  insurance  marker  with  3:50  left  in 
regulation  off a 3-on-1 break, when Johnny Oduya laid a perfect pass into the 
right circle for a one-timer by Toews which had Quick diving at air. 

Quick  was  on the  bench for an  extra attacker  for most of  the final 3 1/2 
minutes, but the Kings only had a handful of chances that were not dangerous. 

"We've  just gotta  do a  better job  of getting  in front  of the  net. We're 
creating the chances but we have to finish," noted Kings captain Anze Kopitar. 

Nick  Leddy's  left-point blast on Chicago's  first power play made it through 
Quick  thanks  to Saad's screen  and deflection to give  the hosts a lead with 
5:14 to play in the opening period. 

Despite  their exhausting  playoff course,  the Kings  attacked the  defending 
champions and outshot them by a 17-6 margin in the middle 20 minutes. However, 
the best break ultimately went to the Blackhawks. 

Rushing  from the right  wing to the crease, Toews tangled with Quick in front 
and  the puck ticked  off the skate of LA defenseman Slava Voynov and slid in. 
The  goal was  waved off  after a  brief discussion  due to  contact with  the 
goaltender at 3:22 of the second. 

The  Kings responded just  over a minute later, as Toffoli went to the net and 
tapped in a cross-ice dish from Tanner Pearson for a 1-1 game. 

Chicago  eventually  produced the  lead goal with  8:06 showing, after Keith's 
left-  point  blast caromed  off the  sticks of a  pair of  Kings en route and 
sailed over Quick's glove. 

"It helps," Keith said when asked about scoring from the defense corps. "There 
are  five guys  on the ice, so there's  no reason why five guys can't be in on 
the play." 

                                   Game Notes 

The Blackhawks improved  to 7-0 at the United Center this postseason and 18-2 
in  their  past 20 home  playoff games ... According  to Elias, Chicago is the 
first  NHL team to win 18 of 20 home playoff games since Edmonton did the same 
from  April 7,  1988-May 2,  1990 ...  Sunday's opener  marked the  first time 
two  teams  met  in  the  Western  finals  in  back-to-back  years  since  the 
Stars/Avalanche  in  1999-2000 ...  The Kings  welcomed back defenseman Willie 
Mitchell, who had been sidelined since Game 6 of the first round with a lower- 
body injury suspected to be a leg issue. 

 
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