Updated: Sunday, 25 May 2014 12:07 | By Agence France-Presse

Kings beat Blackhawks to grab playoff series lead

Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli scored second-period goals to spark the Los Angeles Kings over the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in a National Hockey League playoff game.


Kings beat Blackhawks to grab playoff series lead

Tyler Toffoli of the Los Angeles Kings scores a 2nd period goal past goaltender Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on May 24, 2014 in Los Angeles - by Jeff Gross

The Kings took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference final, which continues Monday at Los Angeles and Wednesday at Chicago.

The winner will face either the New York Rangers or Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final.

England football star David Beckham was among those in the crowd who watched the Kings take their second victory in a row.

Los Angeles had the fewest regular-season goals of any playoff club but now has the highest playoff goals-per-game average of any team in this post-season.

Chicago took the lead on a short-handed goal by Jonathan Toews only 5:26 into the first period, the speedy Canadian center taking the puck on a breakaway and flicking a wrist shot past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick inside the far post.

Los Angeles equalized only 50 seconds later, Slava Voynov firing a slapshot past Chicago netminder Corey Crawford for a power play goal just four seconds before a puck concealing penalty on Chicago's Michael Handzus was to expire.

Toews put the Blackhawks back on top with 6:41 remaining in the opening period, taking a rebound on the edge of the crease, kicking it sideways with his right skate and flicking it with his stick into the back of the net.

But the Kings jumped ahead 3-2 with a pair of second-period goals through Crawford's legs, the first by Carter 8:08 into the period and the go-ahead goal by Toffoli coming just 6:11 later.

Toffoli has scored in all three games of the series for the Kings.

Los Angeles doubled the lead in the third period, seizing a 4-2 edge with 8:03 remaining on Drew Doughty's slapshot.

The late goal turned out to be the decider as the Blackhawks, having pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker, scored with five seconds remaining.

But Patrick Sharp's tip-in only trimmed the final margin as Chicago could not muster another shot before the final horn sounded.

Quick finished with 24 saves.

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