The Western Conference Final shifted to LA for Game 3, and so did all the momentum, as the Los Angeles Kings put themselves two games away from a return to the Staney Cup Final with a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
The game had a familiar feel. Like in Game 2, and really, like this entire postseason to date, the Kings did their best work after falling behind.
The first goal went to Chicago, after the Kings were caught playing fast and loose with the puck in the neutral zone during a first-period powerplay, allowing Jonathan Toews to take it away, create a partial break, and beat Jonathan Quick with a sneaky shot.
Fortunately, Slava Voynov would get that one back on the same powerplay, as the Kings continued to do good work versus a Chicago penalty kill that was excellent through the first two rounds.
Then Toews struck again, outbattling Jake Muzzin at the side of the LA net before kicking a loose puck to his skate, then buying it to make it 2-1 for the Hawks.
At that point, it looked like it was going to be Toews' night. But that's when, for the second straight game, the Kings' line of Jeff Carter, Tanner Pearson, and Tyler Toffoli showed up to play, scoring twice in the second period to give the Kings the lead.
First it was Carter, tying the game when the Blackhawks somehow managed to forget to check the guy that scored thrice the last time out. He was wide open in front for a centring pass from Pearson.
Six minutes later, Toffoli put the Kings in front for good, breaking in alone on Corey Crawford and tucking one under the Chicago netminder's pad.
The Kings only had 4 shots in the second period. But when you shoot 50%, no one much cares.
For the second straight game, the Blackhawks were done in by Carter, Pearson, and Toffoli, the trio fans in Los Angeles are calling "That 70s line", because all three skaters have numbers in the seventies -- a rarity in the NHL, where you're supposed to take a low number because apparently having a high number is showboating or some dumb thing.
The nickname is also pretty dumb. But it yielded this photoshop, so we're okay with it.
— dr Media Productions (@drMediaPro) May 25, 2014
Carter is pretty clearly the line's Topher Grace, but he deflected the praise towards Pearson and Toffoli after the game.
"It's been great," he said. "Obviously they have a lot of chemistry from playing together in Manchester. They're working and they're having fun. They use their speed and their skill to create opportunities. Kind of dragging me along with them, so it's been good."
Drew Doughty made it 4-2 for the Kings midway through the third, and that would do it for Chicago's chances. Patrick Sharp added a late one, but it was at 19:55 of the third -- too late.
The Blackhawks are hardly out of it, though. Down 2-1 in the series, it's clear what they need to do: end the seventies.
It's easier said than done, but they wouldn't be the first Chicago sports team to do it. Disco's official "death" came on July 12, 1979 at Disco Demolition Night, an anti-disco demonstration at a Chicago White Sox doubleheader.
On that night, a box of disco records was blown up on the field between games. (It didn't go over all that well, mind you. The explosion damaged the turf, and the White Sox were forced to forfeit the second game.)
But the Blackhawks don't need to blow anything anything up. They just need to lock it down.
"We got to know the importance of every shift," said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. "They got some guys that can make plays. They don't need much of an opportunity to score. We got to make sure that [in Game 4] we give them nothing."