Blackhawks vs. Kings, Game 3: Slava Voynov continues offensive breakout

USA TODAY Sports

Slava Voynov has had an explosive postseason for the Kings. On Tuesday night, he recorded his fourth game-winning goal of the 2013 playoffs.

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov has scored five goals over the course of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. Four of them have turned out to be game-winners.

With the Kings facing the prospects of a 3-0 series deficit to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, Voynov struck again when he put the Kings up, 2-0, in the second period. While Los Angeles ultimately won the game, 3-1, the story might have played out differently without Voynov's tally. Bryan Bickell pulled the Blackhawks within one after he scored his seventh goal of the postseason with 34 seconds remaining in the middle frame. The Kings third goal came as a result of an empty net, which likely still would have been occupied by Corey Crawford had Voynov not supplied -- what was at the time -- the insurance tally.

During last season's run to the Cup, Voynov registered three points (goal, two assists) in 20 games. Through 16 games this postseason, the 23-year-old has 11 points, which includes five goals and six assists. He currently leads all defensemen in goals and is second only to Kris Letang (13) in total points. In terms of scoring on his own team, Voynov is tied with Jeff Carter in total points, is second to Mike Richards (eight) in assists and is third in goals. Voynov is also averaging the third-most minutes of any player on the Kings (21:12) and has seen significant time on the power play (1:46 average), as well as the penalty kill.

While the spotlight shines brightest on the young defenseman because of his offensive production, his ability to play a key role in the Kings defense corps has aided the team over the course of the last two seasons. A combination of those talents could help the Kings pull even with the Blackhawks heading back to Chicago.

Voynov will have a shot at recording his fifth game-winning goal of the playoffs when the teams meet for Game 4 on Thursday night in Los Angeles.

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