Blackhawks top Kings to claim Western Conference opener

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks
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May 18, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) falls over Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) after the puck went into the net during the second period in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. The goal was disallowed due to goaltender interference. Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - The Chicago Blackhawks seized the early advantage in the Western Conference final with a series-opening 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.

In a rematch of last year’s conference final, won by Chicago in five games, Corey Crawford made 25 saves and the reigning Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks got some timely offense to start the best-of-seven series.

Game Two is in Chicago on Wednesday.

Duncan Keith broke a 1-1 tie with his go-ahead goal midway through the second period, and Jonathan Toews punctuated the win with his sixth goal of the playoffs at 16:10 in the third.

Brandon Saad opened the scoring at 14:46 in the first, before Los Angeles center Tyler Toffoli evened the count in the second.

Despite falling behind in the series, the Kings are no strangers to comebacks as they overcame a 3-0 series hole in the first round and rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the second round.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Gene Cherry)