LOS ANGELES -- With his game face already on, Jonathan Toews laid it out as only he can just a couple of hours before Game 3.
"It's about how bad we want it -- and that's that," the Blackhawks captain said. "You don't think much more about it than that. You don't want to let them to take control of the series and to start dictating things.
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"I think it's all about how you think. It's all about that mindset."
Then the captain went out and backed up his talk with a pair of first-period goals -- including a short-hander that was all hustle to open the scoring.
But it wasn't enough as the Kings once again came alive late, this time for a 4-3 victory at the Staples Center on Saturday. They now hold a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference finals.
"There are just times when he takes over games," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said of Toews. "We knew after he got those 2 goals he was putting it on himself to take over the rest of the game."
It was the second career playoff shorthanded goal for Toews, who now has a team-high 8 goals this postseason.
"He's special," coach Joel Quenneville said "I think his work ethic is contagious. We've got to make sure we all look to play as hard as he does."
The question is, did all of his teammates match Toews' compete level Saturday night?
"Tazer's our captain and he led the way," Duncan Keith said. "But we're going to need everybody if we're going to beat this team."
And they're going to need to get going right away because there's quite a confidence that is growing among the 2012 Cup champions.
"We're here for a reason, we're not here to win a few games," Doughty said. "Our ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup.
"Obviously we've got a lot of obstacles before that can happen, and this is our toughest one yet."
But the Hawks made things a lot easier on the Kings by taking a couple of penalties that resulted in a couple of Los Angeles goals, including Doughty's game-winner, which beat Corey Crawford just as Michal Rozsival was leaving the penalty box.
"What's getting frustrating is we're talking about staying out of the box but we're not doing it," Keith said.
And then there's the Hawks' power play, which was 0-for-4 Saturday and is 1-for-21 on the road this postseason
"Myself included, we've got to do better on the power play," Keith said.
And they have to do it quick, because Game 4 awaits Monday night ... and time is ticking away.
"It's now or never," Toews admitted. "We want to tie this series up and put ourselves back in a good spot in Game 4."
Once again, the captain has spoken.