Blackhawks take stranglehold of West finals

GREG BEACHAM
Last updated 00:32 08/06/2013
Michal Rozsival and Kyle Clifford
Getty Images
BIG COLLISION: Kyle Clifford of the Los Angeles Kings checks the Chicago Blackhawks' Michal Rozsival during Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. The Blackhawks won 3-2 to take a 3-1 series lead.

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The Chicago Blackhawks snapped Los Angeles' daunting streak of home dominance by beating the Kings 3-2 today, taking a 3-1 lead in the NHL Western Conference finals.

The defending Stanley Cup champions are on the brink of exiting the playoffs while the Blackhawks can seal a series victory when they host Game 6 on Sunday (NZ time).

Marian Hossa scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and Chicago hung on to end Los Angeles' 15-game winning streak at home, including eight playoff games.

"They were playing so well at home, and to finally break that streak, we're happy about it," Hossa said. "We knew about it. We talked about it before the game. We were hoping to break it, and we got it."

Corey Crawford made 19 saves, and Patrick Kane tapped in the tying goal as Chicago rallied from a second-period deficit.

Bryan Bickell had a goal and an assist for the top-seeded Blackhawks, who won without suspended defenseman Duncan Keith.

"We knew our defense was going to step up, and they did," Bickell said. "We had a good feeling coming in. We had a bitter taste from the last game. They had a big start, but we stuck with it and eventually got it back."

Slava Voynov and Dustin Penner scored for the Kings, who had the NHL's longest home postseason winning run since 2009.

"It's an incredibly skilled team," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said of Chicago. "We're not getting into something we didn't know. When you turn the puck over like that at the blue lines, with the skill they have, it's only a matter of time before they put one on the scoreboard. Hopefully we learned our lesson, and we've got to win the next one."

Los Angeles hadn't lost a playoff game at home since Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals last season, winning nine straight overall. The Kings also had been outstanding when playing with a lead in front of goalie Jonathon Quick, who stopped 25 shots, but Los Angeles uncharacteristically surrendered that 2-1 lead late in the second period.

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- AP

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