|CHI Wins Series 4 - 1|
FINAL 2nd OT
KINGS at BLACKHAWKS
(Chicago leads best-of-7 series, 3-1)
TV: NBC, CBC, RDS
Big story: The Chicago Blackhawks managed to do what no other team had done in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs or in 15 straight games dating to the regular season: They won a game at Staples Center, defeating the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Thursday in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final to take a 3-1 series lead.
Chicago has a chance to close it out on home ice at United Center on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). The Blackhawks have won four straight at "The Madhouse on Madison Street" and have plenty of motivation to do it again in Game 5. They don't want to fly all the way back to Los Angeles for Game 6 and give the defending Stanley Cup champions life.
Kings: The first goal belonged to Los Angeles in Game 4 when defenseman Slava Voynov scored his sixth goal of the postseason in the first period. That usually means a Kings victory: Los Angeles was 22-0-0 this season when scoring first at Staples Center. That perfect record is over now, thanks to the Blackhawks finding a way to grind out a win and put themselves a win from advancing.
The Kings have a steep hill to climb. They are without center Mike Richards (upper body) and have a 1-7 record on the road in these playoffs.
"It hasn't gone our way on the road obviously," forward Justin Williams said. "But now we need to win two in the United Center. We're not scared of it. We're certainly not scared of it. We're going to welcome a challenge to beat the best team in the League this year in their own house starting [Saturday]."
Blackhawks: Three years after winning the Stanley Cup and going through a large-scale roster restructuring because of the NHL salary cap, Chicago is again one win away from playing in the Final. The Kings aren't going to just hand it to them in Game 5, but there's no question how big the Blackhawks' victory was in Game 4.
The Blackhawks will get back top defenseman Duncan Keith after a one-game suspension for his high stick in Game 3 on Kings forward Jeff Carter. Right wing Patrick Kane also looked more like himself in Game 4, scoring a goal and firing seven of Chicago's 28 shots on goal.
"I think in these playoffs we've gotten better and better as we've gone along," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I think that's the character of our team. We're competitive, we want to win, and we complement our team game and try hard for one another."
Who's hot: Chicago forward Bryan Bickell has at least a point in each of the first four games of this series and scored a goal in Game 4. Bickell has eight goals in the postseason. … Voynov scored for the second straight game and has six goals in the postseason, two in this series to go with three assists.
Injury report: Richards (upper body) missed his third straight game in Game 4; he was injured on a hit by Dave Bolland late in the series opener in Chicago.
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