LOS ANGELES -- The stat of the night Monday: the Blackhawks were 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Kings went 2-for-3 on the man advantage en route to a 5-2 victory and a 3-1 series lead.
"Yup, clearly the difference in the game," said Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter. "The first period it's special teams … and that's the difference."
A goalie-interference penalty on Marian Hossa at the seven-minute mark of the first led to a Jake Muzzin power-play goal, and Patrick Sharp's roughing penalty later in the period resulted in Dustin Brown scoring his third goal of the postseason. Before you knew it, the Kings were up 3-0 and the game was basically out of hand.
"Find a way to do the job. I don't think there's a whole lot to it," Jonathan Toews said of the Hawks' failure on the penalty kill.
"It just seems that they're scoring different goals in different ways on their power play," Duncan Keith said. "We can try to get clears when we have the puck, just all the little things we talk about.
"Just settle down a little bit out there we'll be fine."
Not an easy road:
If the Kings go on to win this series, they know one thing for sure: No team will have been more battle-tested.
"We've had to face the three toughest teams in the whole Western Conference," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "It's not the time to give ourselves a pat on the back or anything like that, but we've done a good job getting past the first two, and I think our toughest challenge yet is this Chicago Blackhawks team."
Joel Quenneville reunited Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on the top line to start Game 4.
"There's always some times here and there that Q will throw us together," Toews said. "So I'm always kind of ready for that."
The oft-magical pairing didn't help much early on though, as the line of Kane, Toews and Bryan Bickell combined for zero shots on goal in the first period. But Bickell did score on assists from Kane and Toews midway through the third to cut the Kings' lead in half.
So that's a no, right?
Here's Joel Quenneville's response when asked before the game if he sensed any fatigue from his guys as the playoffs have gone on:
"None, no, not at all. No, I think something like that we would feel it. You would see it. I'm not giving in to that one."
He said it:
"It was nice to play in California for a change in the first couple of rounds so we didn't have to travel as much. Now it's back to reality with the four-hour flights."
-- Los Angeles center Anze Kopitar