LOS ANGELES -- It was a case of too little too late for the Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
The Hawks failed to get their speed game going until the third period and by that time they were chasing the Kings, who got back in the Western Conference finals with a 3-1 victory at Staples Center.
Tim Sassone's 3 stars1. Slava Voynov, Kings
Defenseman scored the game-winning goal with a broken stick and had an assist in the win.
2. Jeff Carter, Kings
He was plus-2 with 2 assists.
3. Justin Williams, Kings
Scored the all-important first goal of the game that had the Hawks chasing the rest of the night.
The momentum now sides with the Kings going into Thursday's Game 4.
"They've got the momentum back in the series," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "We didn't want to give that to them, but they played a good game and we didn't have enough to get the result we wanted.
"We still like where we are in the series, but we know we definitely have to bounce back and have a much better effort in Game 4."
The Hawks had only 10 shots in the first two periods before putting 10 on Jonathan Quick in the third period.
"We knew they were going to play well in their building, and they did," Patrick Sharp said. "It's time to regroup and be better next game. We've got to find a way to not only generate more shots but better quality shots."
The game was not without its controversy. Kings coach Darryl Sutter was unhappy with the four-minute minor penalty Duncan Keith received in the second period for high sticking Jeff Carter in the face well behind the play.
Sutter felt the penalty should have been more severe, and replays backed him up. Keith took a two-handed swipe at Carter.
"I didn't think it was a four-minute penalty," Sutter said. "That was the wrong call. It was retaliation."
Keith said it was an accident.
"I wanted to give him a tap, but not where I got him," Keith said. "I'm glad to see that he came back. It was just a little scuffle at the end of the play. It was an accident."
Keith was asked if he was concerned the league might review the play.
"I don't know," he said. "I have no idea. I just said it was an accident."
The Kings played again without No. 2 center Mike Richards, who suffered a concussion in Game 1 when Dave Bolland hit him in the last two minutes. It didn't matter.
Tyler Toffoli, Richards' replacement on a line centered by Carter, picked up an assist in the second period on Slava Voynov's goal to give him a goal and 2 assists in the last two games.
Toffoli is a pretty valuable guy to be able to plug into the lineup if you're Sutter.
"He scored 50-some goals his last year, 19 goals in the minors, rookie of the year in the American League," Sutter said. "Played 60-some games. We brought him up when we had the roster spot to do it, not so much to play him, but because we thought he was close so he could watch and sort of progress is all it is."
It was a strong bounce-back game for Jonathan Quick, although he faced only 20 shots. "We need great goaltending to beat Chicago," Sutter said.
The Kings got the all-important first goal at 3:21 when Justin Williams took a pass from Voynov and beat Corey Crawford to the short side from inside the left circle.
The goal resulted from a Nick Leddy turnover along the boards.
Voynov's goal came at 6:37 of the second period on somewhat of a broken play that finished with a broken stick. Toffoli had the puck roll off his stick right to Voynov, who was cutting to the net from the right side, and he broke his stick on the shot that beat Crawford.
"Obviously that's a good break," Toffoli said. "I think a couple of guys were in front and Crawford didn't see it. Any goal is a good goal in the playoffs."
Bryan Bickell scored his seventh goal of the playoffs with 33.6 seconds left in the second period on a wraparound through Quick.
The Hawks pressed for the tying goal in the third period but couldn't get it. Quick robbed Bickell with three minutes left. Dwight King added an empty netter.
"In the third I thought we came at him, came to the net with traffic and got opportunities," Bickell said. "Being up 2-0 on these guys, you saw what they did against St. Louis. They're a great home ice team."
The Kings are 8-0 at the Staples Center, where they have won 15 straight over the last two seasons.
"Their work ethic and their speed and their physical play led to everything else," Toews said. "We didn't quite match it. As a team we have more energy and more speed than we showed tonight."
•Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.