CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Kings handed the Chicago Blackhawks their first home playoff loss on Wednesday, evening the Western Conference Finals at one game apiece after the Kings scored six unanswered goals to beat the defending champions 6-2.
The Kings relied on gritty defense and solid goaltending to silence the Hawks' stars, and notched four goals in just over 10 minutes, wiping out what had been a 2-0 Chicago lead.
The seven-game series now shifts to California for Game 3 on Saturday.
The Blackhawks opened the scoring with a high backhand goal by speedy defenseman Nick Leddy in the first period and extended their lead with a tally by winger Ben Smith early in the second.
But Los Angeles clawed back into the game after goalie Jonathan Quick went post-to-post to deny a slapshot by Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook on a two-on-one break and the momentum shifted.
Kings' forward Justin Williams halved Chicago's lead late in the second period before the visitors' third-period onslaught that saw Jake Muzzin, Tyler Toffoli and Jake Carter all scoring to seal the victory.
Carter completed a hat-trick on an empty-net goal after the Hawks pulled goalie Corey Crawford with nearly four minutes left in the game.
Chicago are seeking to win a third Stanley Cup in five years, while Los Angeles are trying for a second cup in three years. The winner of the series will face either the New York Rangers or Montreal Canadians.
(Reporting by Michael Hirtzer and Karl Plume. Editing by Patrick Johnston)