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Blackhawks vs Kings - 2013 Western Conference Final

New lines create offense for Kings in Game 3

Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 2:04 AM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2013 Western Conference Final

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES – There really should be a name for these furtive moves that Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter makes when it comes to his lineup.

Sutter-anigans? Sutter-metrics?

His players are so used it by now that it wasn't really surprising when Sutter mixed up his lines for Tuesday's Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, even after they appeared unchanged from Game 2 in the morning skate.

"We knew in the morning," captain Dustin Brown said.

It wasn't evident until pre-game warmups that Sutter dropped Anze Kopitar to the third-line center with Dwight King and Trevor Lewis. Brown played left wing with Jarret Stoll at center and Justin Williams on right wing for the first time this season, while the Dustin Penner-Jeff Carter-Tyler Toffoli line remained intact.

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Keith: High stick on Carter was 'an accident'

Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 1:32 AM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2013 Western Conference Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

LOS ANGELES -- After a strong showing in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final, Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter would have been available to the media in the home dressing room at Staples Center late Tuesday night.

However, Carter did not speak with reporters -- and for good reason.

Carter was getting dental work done -- a necessity after a high stick from behind delivered by Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith 7:58 into the second period. Carter, who was bleeding, returned to the game roughly 10 minutes later and assisted on Dwight King's empty-net goal that sealed the Kings' 3-1 win that brought them within 2-1 in the best-of-7 series with Game 4 set for Thursday at Staples Center.

"I wanted to give him a tap, but not where I got him," Keith explained. "I'm glad to see that he came back."

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Bickell continues to contribute for Blackhawks

Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 1:10 AM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2013 Western Conference Final

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Bryan Bickell's magical postseason continued Tuesday night, but he was inches away from it reaching mythical proportions.

Bickell scored late in the second period of Game 3 in this Western Conference Final at Staples Center to give his sluggish Chicago Blackhawks a lift, but it was his late shot that didn't go in that proved to be a critical moment in a 3-1 victory for the Los Angeles Kings.

"I felt like we had some good momentum going into the third, but [Jonathan Quick] made a big save with about [three] minutes left against me too," Bickell said. "It would have been different, but give it to him -- he played well."

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No reason not to expect bounce-back from Quick

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- Jonathan Quick is the least of the Los Angeles Kings' worries. With a few exceptions, the goaltender has been nothing short of his Conn Smythe Trophy-winning form from last season in these Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But even coach Darryl Sutter acknowledged what needs to happen in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

"There's been enough talk about Jonathan Quick this year," Sutter said at the morning skate. "We need a big game out of him. We need great goaltending to beat Chicago. We can't allow four goals and think we're going to beat Chicago."

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Crawford's playoff performance no surprise to Hawks

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford sat to forward Patrick Sharp's right at the podium following Game 2 Sunday night and intently listened to his teammate -- and the first star of the game -- talk him up.

"Yeah, he's awesome," Sharp started saying as Crawford, who had just made 29 saves in a 4-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings to put the Blackhawks up 2-0 in the Western Conference Final, leaned back in his chair and turned his body halfway to his left to show that he was interested in the answer, too.

"[I've] been answering questions all year about Corey, if he's the No. 1 guy, if he can do it," Sharp continued. "[I] said the same answer all along -- there's no question in our locker room. He's the guy we want in net back there. He's proven it in the past. It's nice to see him finally get the credit that he deserves."

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Five keys as Kings return home vs. Blackhawks

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings have seen this script before after losing the first two games to the St. Louis Blues in the opening round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After dropping the first two contests of the Western Conference Final at United Center to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Kings will try to duplicate what they accomplished in the quarterfinals. One big difference, obviously, is this is the Presidents' Trophy-winning Blackhawks, who have now won five games in a row after being pushed to the brink of elimination by the Detroit Red Wings.

Another difference is Game 2 was a wobble for goaltender Jonathan Quick. The Kings had not yielded more than two goals in a loss this postseason, but Blackhawks touched up Quick for four goals in a little more than 30 minutes before he was removed for Jonathan Bernier.

The Kings had an incredible killer instinct in the 2012 playoffs, winning Game 3 to take a 3-0 series lead four times. Now, they will try to prevent it for a second time in three rounds.

Here are five keys to watch for in Game 3 on Tuesday night at Staples Center:

1. A king-sized siege?

One of the biggest problems for the Los Angeles Kings in the first two games of this series was the inability to sustain pressure in the offensive zone. Los Angeles wants to put the puck in deep and lean on teams with its size and forechecking, but the Blackhawks have done a tremendous job of moving the puck out of danger.

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Kings know they need to generate more offense

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – In-and-out isn't just the name of a burger chain that helps define Southern California culture. It also defines the struggles of the Los Angeles Kings' top forwards in the Western Conference Final.

It's been no lazy-afternoon barbecue for Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams and Jeff Carter through the first two games. That's because this is the first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that they've dealt with a puck-moving team like the Chicago Blackhawks, whose speed and transition game leave L.A. with few secondary scoring chances.

"There's a lot of neutral zone play," Williams said. "There's a lot of in-and-outs. There's not a lot sustained pressure, and give them credit. They're a good checking team. They check you and try to get you frustrated, and in turn, that's what we do. But they've been more successful at it than we have. Do I feel we've played a better game than Game 1? Yes, but that's what losers say."

Game 3 is Tuesday at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

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Blackhawks fire on all cylinders in Game 2

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO – This was the team that racked up 77 points in a 48-game regular season and basically sewed up the Presidents' Trophy before anybody else had a realistic chance to catch them.

This was the lightning quick, relentless version of the Chicago Blackhawks that gave the Western Conference fits from start to finish – earning home ice throughout the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs and casting them in the favorite's role in the case for the silver chalice.

It might not have shown in the middle of a tough Western Conference Semifinal series against the rival Detroit Red Wings, but Chicago's wealth of skill, speed, grit and determination was on full display Sunday night at United Center. A night after grinding out a 2-1 win in the first game of the conference final, the Blackhawks steamrolled the Los Angeles Kings by running out to a 4-0 lead and then finishing it off with a 4-2 win.

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Blackhawks' Crawford sticks up for Toews

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was tied up with Los Angeles Kings forward Kyle Clifford in a scrum midway through the third period Sunday night when a teammate came to his defense.

It wasn't the guy Toews expected to see grab Clifford's head. After all, Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford doesn't typically try to be an enforcer.

"The guy grabbed him, got a couple free shots," Crawford said after making 29 saves in a 4-2 victory in Game 2 that gave Chicago a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Final. "I figured it was enough. I just decided to go in there and grab his head."

And so that's what he did. The 21,824 inside United Center noticed it, too, and when they showed Crawford on the scoreboard the fans started chanting, "Corey, Corey, Corey."

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Nothing goes right for Kings' Quick in Game 2

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Jonathan Quick is mortal after all, and Sunday just wasn't his night.

Quick yielded four goals in a little more than 30 minutes of Game 2 against the Chicago Blackhawks in this Western Conference Final at United Center, and the Los Angeles Kings' goaltender found himself in an unfamiliar place of late -- watching his team play during a Stanley Cup Playoff game.

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Quick - Playoffs
Goalie - LAK
RECORD: 8-7
GAA: 1.76 | SVP: 0.940

Kings coach Darryl Sutter pulled Quick after Los Angeles fell behind 4-0. It was the first time Quick yielded more than three goals in a playoff game since 2011, and the first time he was removed from a postseason contest since April 23, 2010.

Los Angeles lost 4-2 and fell behind 2-0 in this best-of-7 series.

"It wasn't [Quick]'s fault. That's for sure," Los Angeles forward Dustin Penner said. "He's the main reason we're here. We felt bad as a team. That's on us that he got pulled. It had nothing to do with him."

For all of the talk about the Blackhawks needing to get traffic in front of Quick, he was undone by three clean looks and an own goal. Breakdowns in front of Quick lead to two of the goals, strong skating by Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook was a big part of one and Bryan Bickell's work in front of the net, plus a little bad luck, led to another.

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