Sports

Kings storm back for 6-2 win to tie series

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Kings right wing Justin Williams scores past Blackhawks center Michal Handzus (26) and goalie Corey Crawford during the second period. CHARLES REX ARBOGAST, AP

CHICAGO – The condolence cards will have postmarks from San Jose and Anaheim.

The Chicago Blackhawks should have known better. Yes, they were busy in the first two rounds, trying to win their own playoff series, but at some point someone should have given them a memo about the Kings.

One sentence would cover it: “They don’t go away.” Not in a playoff series, not in a game and not in a period. Lesson learned, as the Kings scored six consecutive goals, five in the third period, and pulled off a stunning 6-2 victory in Game 2 of the Western Conference final Wednesday night at United Center.

Jeff Carter scored three of the third-period goals as the Kings handed the Blackhawks their first home loss of the playoffs and tied this series, 1-1, with Game 3 on Saturday at Staples Center.

“This is a huge game for our approach, our psyche,” captain Dustin Brown said. “Kind of like slaying the mythical dragon. We've been dominated by this team over over last couple of years. To come in here and get a win in their building with the type of home record they have, I think gives us a boost in confidence.”

The Kings have already rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to stun the Sharks and a 3-2 deficit to dump the Ducks. They pulled another magic trick Wednesday, after 38 minutes of mostly dismal play, when they scored four goals in a 10-minute, 45-second span to turn a two-goal deficit into a two-goal lead.

“It’s not that we’re comfortable … well, maybe we’re a little comfortable being behind,” center Jarret Stoll said. “We’re used to it I guess. You never quit. You can’t quit. Crazy things can happen when you score. You can’t quit until it’s over and that’s all it is. … You keep pushing and pushing.”

The scoring output? Historic. Carter’s four third-period points (he assisted on a Tyler Toffoli goal) tied an NHL single-period playoff record. The Kings scored five goals in a period for the third time in team history.

“It’s a tough building to win in,” Carter said. “They were undefeated in the playoffs (at home), so it’s a good confidence builder for us. Getting a split in this building is really good.”

Of the Kings’ 18 skaters, 12 recorded at least one point. For key moments, though, first look back to a successful 38-second, five-on-three Kings penalty kill that kept the game scoreless in the first period.

Then look the lunging save made by Jonathan Quick, on a Chicago two-on-one, with 7:15 remaining in the first period, which kept the Kings’ deficit at only 2-0. The Kings, except for Quick, were flailing, not generating scoring chances, getting regularly beat by long passes and hurt by their own turnovers.

Then it started, as things often do, with a fluke. Mike Richards’ centering pass went off the skate of Justin Williams and trickled past goalie Corey Crawford to make it a 2-1 game with 1:46 left in the second period.

“We knew we could win this game,” defenseman Drew Doughty said. “We knew we hadn’t had our best effort yet. We knew the third period was going to be our best period of this series so far. We were just adamant in here about coming out and getting pressure and getting a goal early, and we did that.”

The Kings’ power play got it going in the third period. Brandon Bollig took an interference penalty at 1:14, and Carter scored on a deflection 23 seconds later. Chicago was called for too many men on the ice at the 2:50 mark, and Jake Muzzin scored a sniper’s goal 1:14 later.

The dagger came 8:59 into the third, when Toffoli scored to give the Kings a 4-2 lead.

Crawford harmlessly deflected a Carter shot toward the glass behind the net. Chicago defenseman Nick Leddy inexplicably stopped skating, but Kings winger Tanner Pearson didn’t, and he centered the puck to Toffoli for a close-range goal that deflated what remained of the Blackhawks’ spirit.

Carter added a late empty-netter.

“The way it turned on a dime like that,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said, “I don’t know if we’ve seen a game like that all year where we’re doing everything right and then all of a sudden it was a disaster.”

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