Blackhawks top Kings to claim Western Conference opener

Reuters News
Posted: May 18, 2014 6:39 PM

(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)