NHL: Los Angeles Kings thump Chicago Blackhawks

The Kings scored three times in the first period at the Staples Center, as they blew the Chicago Blackhawks away in game four to claim a 3-1 lead in the NHL’s Western Conference finals.

A fourth goal to Drew Doughty early in the second period essentially clinched victory for the home side, although Chicago struck twice to add some respectability to the final scoreline.

LA need one more win to qualify for their second Stanley Cup series in three years, having lifted the NHL’s iconic trophy in 2012.

In the first period, the Kings converted from both their power-play opportunities with Jake Muzzin taking advantage of the first on nine minutes.

Marian Gaborik doubled the hosts’ advantage just over two minutes later before Dustin Brown scored a power-play goal in the 16th minute to give the Kings a 3-0 lead at the first break.

When Doughty made it 4-0 in the 13th minute of the middle period, LA were cruising although Chicago got on the scoreboard soon after through Brandon Saad.

The Blackhawks’ Bryan Bickell made it 4-2 just before the midpoint of the final period but Chicago’s slim hopes of a comeback were ended when Tanner Pearson scored an empty-netter for the Kings with 62 seconds left.

The two teams will return to Chicago for game five on Wednesday, which the Blackhawks must win to keep their hopes of consecutive Stanley Cups alive.

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